In partnership with The Harris Poll, Genesco Sports Enterprises fielded new research to capture sentiment on how fans plan to re-engage with their favorite leagues and teams after months without sports.
As the country navigates a return to normal activities, sports properties and sponsor brands must adapt and create new ways to engage fans with empty stands. Major sports leagues including MLS, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL will resume play over the next two months. Fans may not be in the seats, but their passion and devotion to their teams will remain steadfast. Research shows a willingness for fans to evolve their game day experience, offering unique activation opportunities to reach them at home.
- Our survey found 133 million Americans say they are interested in home watch parties – i.e. “Sports Homegating.” Fans can’t go to the games right now, so sports properties and brands must reach them where they are – 76% of fans say they are interested in bringing the tailgate home.
- Digital and social technology will be key to reaching fans at home. The survey shows a high interest in virtual reality viewing (74%), 2nd screen content (66%), and live social media integration in the broadcast (64%).
Measures to Ease Nerves When Venues Reopen:
- When fans do return to venues, there are opportunities for teams and brands to help ease that transition and create a sense of safety and cleanliness – e.g. sanitation stations (92% interest), functional giveaway items like masks and hand sanitizer (90% interest), and reusable seat covers (89% interest).
Americans are eager for the return of sports and are looking for ways to reconnect and celebrate their fandom. Sports properties and sponsors have a unique opportunity to shape this reengagement process, creating new avenues to reach fans and generate revenue.
“As we’re now more home-oriented, homegating will be on the rise, leading to more chips, soda, and beer being sold,” said John Tatum, CEO – Genesco Sports Enterprises. “In my 30+ year career in sports, I’ve never seen a greater opportunity for brands to directly engage with fans where they live.”
The survey was fielded June 18-20, 2020 among 1,962 total respondents. 1,344 were sports viewers (watched on TV in the past 12 months) and 795 were sports attendees (attended in-person last 12 months). Methodology note: 255M U.S. adults ages 18+ -> 175M self-reported sports viewers (68.5%) -> 133M “Homegaters” (76%).