If there is a silver lining for the sports industry from COVID, it’s that many of the outdated business practices in the sector are going to have to disappear. Most of these came from taking the status quo for granted: that the fans would always be there, that sponsors would be happy with loose media value metrics and viewers would keep lapping up whatever content they were given. There was limited incentive to do things differently.
But the world has changed. As a result, sports organisations are going to have to change and will need to significantly improve their commercial operations. That will mean working in new ways and valuing different skill sets in their people. For example, an ability to understand data or the willingness to learn from trying things will both be important. It may also mean sports organisations radically changing their approach to budgeting. The overall marketing & sales budget at a team or league may now be smaller than it was but the proportion given to digital and data is likely to grow significantly. It also means that teams and leagues will need to invest in tools to help them work more effectively and offer better experiences to fans, rather than viewing such tools as a “nice to have”.