When will full crowds return to sporting arenas and stadiums?
The world of sport has completely changed over the past few months and one of the biggest changes has been regarding fans. We have seen events take place behind closed doors, the odd trial event with people inside stadiums, but generally speaking it has been a tough time for those who enjoy watching live sport.
The future is hard to predict under normal circumstances, but throw in a worldwide pandemic and it becomes even harder to predict what will happen next month, never mind next year. But when will full crowds return to sport, and what does the path look like that will lead us there?
How sport has moved into our homes
We have seen a big shift in how people interact with sports. More live events than ever before are being shown, either additional games from places such as the Premier League, or new sports reaching our screens that have not been seen before. We’ve seen new ways to watch, some specially created watch parties, different camera angles and far more interaction on social media, all in an attempt to keep fans engaged despite not being in the stadium.
Several industries rely on sport – with no sport there is no product. But on the other hand, with more sport, especially live on TV, there is an even greater product for providers such as Free Bets co uk website to promote and take to their customers.
Overall, it has to be said that many sports, leagues and teams have been excellent during this pandemic. They know fans are missing the action, but have tried to include them as much as possible.
Limited attendances some time this year
The plan for the return of fans to sporting events involves many phases. The most important will come at some point this year, when limited numbers of fans are allowed to arrive. There is a tentative date in October for this to take place, though the situation is very fluid.
This will look very different for each sport. For example, in football there are talks of 15% attendance, with no away fans in the ground, just home fans. Other sports like cricket and horse racing are talking about letting annual members only in, and no individual ticket buying guests.
The sports industry and music industry are likely to be connected here, though sports will take the lead. Artists have been playing online during lockdown, with Frank Turner being one of the most active. They know their time will come and getting music gigs back in any kind of way is going to rely on other industries, such as sport, to perform well with limited attendances towards the end of this year.
Can full crowds return next year?
More people will be allowed into events as time passes, but will they go back to being full?
Can you envisage 60,000 in a Premier League stadium at the start of 2021, including away fans? That still seems some way off, and if it does happen then it will almost certainly be at the very end of 2021. The Cheltenham Festival was a hot topic at the start of the pandemic. Can you envisage full attendance, with racing fans from all over the country and Ireland, next March? Again unlikely.
Limited capacity may have to become the new normal for not only the rest of this year, but potentially for most or even all of 2021. The hope will be for full crowds in 2021, but realistically, we are going to have to see major improvements, otherwise it may be moved back to 2022.
The editorial unit