– The acceleration of the digitization of major sporting events
The remote access proposals for the public do not go back to the pandemic. But this hit an events sector at its peak, which then had to impose the digitization of experiences to replace, for a certain time, the possibility of being united around the same passion.
In 2019 all signs are green, the events industry is growing and experiencing its golden age, whether in sports, shows, entertainment and even trade shows.
Of course, not everything was perfect, the auto show (GIMS) had to revise its format, even the watch shows (SIHH and Baselworld) to respond to business developments and the concerts had to adjust their prices following the decline in individual sales and the growth of streaming platforms. All of these themes can create an article on their own, but let’s just say, overall, the events industry was at its peak.
In the world of sport, the number of events has grown steadily over the past decade. So much so that some sports have lost readability, not knowing which were the most important events of the discipline: tournaments, championships, cups, circuits, etc. nationally, internationally, facing teams, clubs, regions, countries.
We have also been able to observe a great professionalization in the organization and development of marketing of these, which has led to a proliferation of higher education in sports marketing and the creation of many “new” professions and specializations, such as Growth hacker, Data Analyst or Digital strategist. to name just these three.
Ecology and democratization
It was also a period of great reflection on the digitization of events. On the one hand, the idea of being greener by reducing paper, ticketing emissions and other media. On the other hand, democratize, in a certain way, by giving digital access to events (we will not deliberately talk about streaming and OTT platforms).
Remember that in 2014 Meta, which was then Facebook, bought the virtual headset company Oculus for $ 2 billion. In 2016 it was launched by Oculus Rift with the ambition to revolutionize the way of consuming entertainment and, in particular, sport. Being able to watch a Wimbledon final from your sofa in Geneva, with a friend in Sydney and another in Buenos Aires, feeling in the stands of the prestigious Central Court of the All England Loan Tennis Club: this is the ambition of Meta via l ‘ Oculus.
Of course, the technology was not yet available and the TV rights stakes were still a torturous deal. However, the stakes had been raised and large-scale event organizers, sporting and otherwise, could no longer ignore the importance of reviewing or reflecting on the digitization of their events.
Covid is accelerating the trend
March 16, 2020 – The Federal Council describes the situation in Switzerland as an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of the epidemics law. All shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment and leisure venues are closed until April 19, 2020.
There is no need to tell the rest, no one is close to forgetting what happened and the situation we have experienced in the last two years. With the exception of a few rare sectors, all have been affected by this unpredictable closure. The fall was brutal, some will not recover.
After this massive hit, it’s time to come to your senses and, like McGregor after a crushing low kick, you need to get up and adjust.
Some organizers had already taken the step ahead by offering a partially immersive experience, others were just starting, not to mention those who simply turned down this path. For the latter, the path is still long and tortuous even today. For the first two, between survival and resolutions, digitization was the solution. And, if it is important to get up and start over, why not do it by taking advantage of our lessons learned from the Covid period by digitizing some aspects and capitalizing on the efforts put in place before and during this period.
It’s the look and feel of Zoom, Teams, Webex, Kmeet, or Blue Jeans just to name a few, but also the application of these practices to the field of large-scale events. Forced to be creative and reinvent themselves, great initiatives are emerging that keep fans / customers engaged and engaged. This situation could certainly not last long without getting bored, but it has undoubtedly accelerated the digitization of major events.
A balance to find
Strong supporter of events that bring people together, I have always believed, even in the depths of the crisis, that fans he would go back to the stadiums. Whether in stadiums, arenas, concert halls or exhibition centers, the public is once again gathered in large numbers, such as the last Golf Masters in Augusta, the Watches & Wonders fair in Geneva or even during the Australian stage of Formula 1 in Melbourne. And this despite the emergence of a quality digital offer, for those who cannot go there.
The public, in the moment of rediscovered freedom, has shown that they love events. Ideally live, but digitally for those who can’t go there.
It is up to the organizers today to find the subtle alchemy between in person and digital.
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