The World Indoor Championships in Nanking, the Rome Marathon, and a plethora of Formula One Grand Prix events are just three of thousands of important sporting events that have been canceled in recent months, posing a serious financial conundrum for sports clubs and organizations. As is the case in other industries, however, the sporting industry has risen to the challenge in many ways, aiming to boost its revenue through spectator-free events. Just a few strategies being employed include improved strategies for investment in sport stocks, and outdoor tailgating.

The Advent Of Fan-Free Sporting Events

The show must go on was the attitude of many sports event organizers, who were permitted by governments across the globe to hold spectator-free sporting events. The decision to stream events to audiences was based on studies showing that these events can have a huge effect on infection rates. One study found that every National Basketball Association and National Hockey League game in March 2020 contributed to 380 more cases of infection and 16 more deaths per one million people. As such, top sporting teams playing games like football battled it out on silent war zones, with events like the English and Spanish Premier Leagues continuing to draw large crowds via television and dedicated online platforms.

Opportunities For Investment

The rise of remote work and the advent of lockdown led to a boom in online sports viewing and betting, meaning that professional and retail sports stocks were considered sound investments, even during the height of the pandemic. Just a few stocks that performed well include Madison Square Garden Sports Corp stocks (this holding company manages various sports teams – including the New York Knicks), Churchill Downs Inc. (a famous horse racing track), and the Liberty Media Corporation (which has three divisions – SiriusXM, Formula One, and the Atlanta Braves). Some sports groups achieved new heights in performance, owing to factors such as the increased purchase of sports equipment and merchandise during the pandemic.

Outdoor Tailgating

Outdoor tailgating – the transformation of outdoor areas into a 360 degree viewing experience – is currently a way for sporting teams and organizations to bridge the gap between in-person and streamed experiences. Recently, global design firm Populous set to work with teams like the Milwaukee Bucks to create amazing outdoor experiences that enable audiences to feel like they are together and part of something communal.

The plan is to retrofit a 10-acre outdoor area outside Fiserv Forum, offering visitors different experiences depending on the price point they opt for. Hundreds of cars can be parked in specific areas, which will also feature food truck areas. Standard tailgating spots (with designated spaces to park and a good view of the screen) will be the norm in order to ensure uniformity and order. Populous has also designed premier experiences – including the chance to hire an opera box, where the audience can watch the game from five stories up while they snack on food and beverages.

As is the case for most industries, the sporting industry has suffered from the cancellation of events. Teams and organizations have made many efforts to counter their loss of revenue, however. These efforts include live-streamed (audience-free) events, a push for investment in sporting teams, and the advent of outdoor tailgating for a shared viewing experience.

By Jess Walter

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