Webinar Fan experience after COVID-19
  • Steve Livingstone, Sports Consultant MVPindex
  • Ken Peterson, President - CX QuestionPro
  • Brady Hull, General Manager 1310 KFKA

Like many businesses, the sports industry will certainly change after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of many national tragedies, sports was a way to bring people together. But how do you bring people together in a time when we’re supposed to maintain distance?

QuestionPro CX President Ken Peterson speaks with sports business icon Steve Livingstone and Brady Hull about changes to the fan experience and the evolution of sports due to the long term effect of the pandemic and new social distancing norms.

  • doneWhat lessons from the sports industry will carry over into other industries?
  • doneWhat will the “new normal” be for Fan Experience?
  • doneWill we ever feel comfortable with an experience that closes us into tight spaces?

Speakers: Steve Livingstone, Sports Management Consultant - MVPindex, Brady Hull, General Manager - 1310 KFKA (Northern Colorado), and Ken Peterson, President - CX, QuestionPro CX

Top questions & answers from this webinar
Q: Could you comment on how the culture of the sports fans say Canadian minor hockey versus American baseball will change as we come out of COVID and resume sports slowly?

Answer: I think up and down the chain, you're going to see a different experience. We've experienced it with grocery shopping now. So there's a limit in how many people can go in at a time. The lines are different. Even with flying and I flew recently. The experience was vastly different and not in the worst way either. I'm a member of CLEAR, and I see a lot more things like CLEAR pop up, as Steve mentioned, getting a screening before you actually ever make it to the stadium. So I think there might be things like a CLEAR where you actually show up at the stadium and show your certificate of health as I call it and you're able to go in and pass freely. There are going to be other things that people aren't going to really like. And I think it's going to span business as well as sports, which is sort of ‘contact tracing’ in the short term just knowing who you've come across, knowing if I’ve had the illness and I went to a place that they can inform everyone that you're now under a 14-day quarantine until you're better.

Q: What organizations are sports companies consulting when they're considering the rights of fans with privacy like temperature gathering, contact information, etc.?

Answer: It will be very similar to how it is on the back of a ticket. You've given up all your rights, right to be able to sue, right to privacy, any more so than if you got hit by a foul ball if someone came in and was sick and you got sick as a result. You've sort of surrendered your rights in a lot of ways; I think the underlying part of this is how they make you feel comfortable with it, which is going to be a whole another aspect of it. If I look back at mobile ticketing and when that was rolled out in the NFL, it was just basically, they said every team has to do it. As a result, you had to have an app on your phone; you had to allow them to track and trace you, and have access to the data that these apps collect. You can call it giving up your rights as you enter that contract. Most of the sports teams are working right now with reputable data companies. Sports teams are subject to all the data laws that any other industry is subject to. So I think generally the control of that data, the use of that data and it's going to be very important. It's going to be important for sports teams organizations to have some transparency with their funds also to make sure that the fans are opting in, because otherwise, you know, there’ll be serious repercussions in terms of the FCC, etc. So, you know, generally across the board all the major league teams are aware of this and will be very careful. It’s part of that idea that the data is being used to supply the third party, for example. That's going to destroy the trust between the fans and the club. You know one thing that sports organizations have got going for them, more so than any other industry is loyalty and that degree of passion and feeling that their customers and fans have for their brand.

Q: Do you see VR being a potential solution?

Answer: If we're talking about as part of the fan engagement side of it fan experience side, I could certainly see that happening. I think Intel has True View, which you know they have these 360 degree views of the stadium and have 65 cameras of 4K quality. It's a little far off, but I can imagine sitting there with my VR gear on my head and feeling like I'm in a stadium based on a certain perspective, but at the moment, it feels like it'd be still a few years off because if I recall correctly, just to stream about a minute of that True View data. I think it was about a terabyte of data that was being read and a video that was being pulled in. And I think, maybe VR has some limitations, but certainly augmented reality we're going to see that. I think we already see that, and if you watch the Korean baseball that's coming up, they've been tinkering with this idea of, beaming fans into the stadium. It's empty seats in reality, but the augmented reality that we see on-screen LED advertising and fans in their seats even though they don't exist. This could create a better experience for the viewer.

Q: Sports are a huge revenue generator for hotels and airlines and travel and tourism. Do you see any partnering of these industries to work together to present a united front on safety and security to increase consumer confidence and drive sales and revenue?

Answer: That'll be interesting to see. Certainly, there were already some partnerships that were in existence to really bolster local attendance, such as, stay at this hotel, and you know you can get a discount. I think the travel industry is probably going to be hit harder than the sports industry even because you know; travel is based on you, you have what we call the butts in seats. I mean stadiums are one-third of the type of revenue for sports teams, but they still have those other revenue streams from which they can benefit. I could see some partnerships working, such as if you're in a hotel attached to a stadium, you might be able to do they hey we can pre-screen you before you go to the stadium. I think if I'm a sponsorship guy working with a major league team right now I am trying to talk to companies like CLEAR, companies that have technology like the pods that you showed earlier. You know, there's obviously going to be a huge cost to equipping venues and changing venues to be compatible with new required protocols, or you know a way for sports teams to offset that cost would be to develop partnerships and sponsorship relationships with companies like clear, for example. These units themselves aren't cheap, you're probably talking about 30 to $50,000 per unit. So that's a significant spend for a sports club. Bartering that arrangement through a sponsorship deal would probably be a smart way to go. I also think those existing relationships already. If you look at the NFL, NBA, and NHL, they all have relationships with airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. They are already partnering with those partners to answer their fan find ways to keep the cost down.