For many people, nearly a year has passed since their last outing to a major sports or music event. But while caution remains the norm as COVID-19 continues to impact lives around the globe, new research by Oracle shows that the public longs for a return to stadiums and arenas.
82% of people who used to attend live events say that they miss the experience and a staggering 85% are nostalgic for stadium food.
The good news is that consumers are more optimistic than ever about the return to live events: more than a quarter of people now say they will attend live events as soon as they are able to. This is a huge improvement over last year and marks a positive shift in consumer confidence.
Age greatly influences who is ready to make the return to live events. Of all the age demographics, baby boomers are the least likely to make an immediate return to live events, with nearly 50% saying they would abstain for the time being. And over half of all respondents were keen to keep social distancing measures in place, even once mass gatherings are deemed safe again.
Our new research shows that fans are counting on stadiums to provide a 360° digital experience that helps customers plan their trip ahead of time. Providing self-service options to fans makes attendees feel in control of their experience, and creates a lasting impact beyond the event itself. This will play a huge role in boosting stadium attendance in the coming year.
Create a connected experience for your customer starts before they step foot in the stadium. Every step of the journey, from pre-event planning to enjoying the game live must be consistent across your tech stack.
Customers may be ready to return, but many aren't comfortable playing it by ear—they want to be able to plan their itinerary and experience ahead of time in order to reduce stress on the day. Our research shows customers like having options for things like planning their trip, preordering concessions, and more.
In these uncertain times, customers crave convenience. Stadium owners have a huge opportunity to invest in technology like self-service kiosks, and mobile payments for stadium concessions that makes visitors feel like VIPs. Offering these premium experiences gives people the freedom to create their ideal stadium experience and encourages fans to enjoy game day their way.
Social distancing practices aren't going anywhere soon—many fans now expect these new standards to be available when they return. Our research shows fans are willing to pay more money to skip lines and have food delivered directly to their seat. Now is the time to invest in technology that gives visitors a sense of control.
Avoiding close contact with large crowds will be a main priority for fans in the coming year. Customers who are keen to avoid peak times and crowd bottlenecks will be looking for additional food and leisure options.
Building a partner network of bars and restaurants in your area that are located at strategic transport locations will be key to creating additional revenue streams.
While the past year has been a challenge, our new normal has opened up a world of possibilities. Many expressed interest in things like drone deliveries, game-day packages, and more. One thing is for sure, fans are excited about what the future of sports could look like.