COVID-19. I’m sure most of us have heard about it. As much as it changed all our lives, it’s also changed entire industries.
Entertainment (we’re including sport) is the big one. I mean, Netflix and all the streaming platforms are the obvious ones but let’s talk about the new and unexpected changes.
THE LEGITIMISATION OF E-SPORTS AND GAMIFICATION OF SPORTS:
COVID-19 has meant sports matches have been cancelled and the industry is/was bleeding money. Now I’m sure this takes you back to the beginning of the pandemic when the articles were spamming the internet and surely your phone.
Innovation was the essential key to ensure survival. E-sports was just one of the tools used to expand the scope of sport. Even now, e-sports is a topic of debate...
Is e-sports a real sport?
Up until the pandemic, e-sports was generally scoffed upon as a legitimate sport. But once stadiums closed, this option was starting to become a real option to those who often disregarded its place in sport.
We are spending an increasing amount of time online since we are stuck at home and broadcasters are aiming to fill the airtime left by cancelled sporting events. Streaming is aiming to fill the hole left by the shutdown of the industry. Many leagues and streaming services are allowing consumers to view past matches to bring some sport to fans. Some sporting sectors have been more innovative than others. NASCAR launched iRacing in which a simulator allows drivers to participate in a race, which is argued to be closer to real-life than esports. It will be interesting to see if other sporting areas will follow in similar footsteps to NASCAR and if they will keep it as a permanent part of the industry post-crazy. All in all, it is likely there will be increased gamification in the sports industry.
SOCIAL MEDIA & USER-GENERATED CONTENT:
COVID-19’s impact on the sports industry has clearly highlighted the importance of social media as a tool. In this pandemic, social media is one of the only tools connecting organisations and athletes to their fans.
The sports industry would have lost much more during this COVID-19 pandemic if it were not for social media. The ability to keep communication channels open and use esports, streaming and media platforms has meant the industry can continue innovating to make a profit when they are currently losing billions of pounds.
Stadium workers for games have also lost their income. Athletes have flocked together to try and pay these employees of the industry. Pay cuts for athletes also have been implemented to supplement for the lack of revenue. Football leagues alone have already lost $4 billion and counting.
User-generated content has had higher importance to keep sports fans engaged. The NBA reports the House of Highlights Instagram page has increased its following by 30% since the season ended. The sheer impact user-generated content has on consumers defines why this type of content is so important.
Esports, streaming and user-generated content are likely to continue rising. The three technologies predicted to have an impact on sport in 2020 are fan engagement technologies (live streaming, esports and content platforms), followed by athlete performance technologies (coaching platforms and wearables), and stadium experience technologies. These technologies woven into the industries can aid athletes, sports organisations and Esports to remain competitive and survive the financial impact of COVID-19. This can only be done if the sports industry remains open to the use of E-sports and somewhat gamifying the industry. All these months down, e-sports is still somewhat neglected and can be further capitalised upon.