Fan Concerns, Expectations, and Intentions Around COVID Seasons

August 24, 2020

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In the midst of ‘Return to Play’ planning and speculation from administrators, health officials, and pundits, stakeholders need to consider the voice of the fan. Fan perspectives change frequently in these uncertain times. Seeking to give fans a ‘virtual seat at the table’, Aspire has surveyed more than 4,000 unique college athletic ticket buyers and donors from across the country, collecting responses from six (6) different Division 1 conferences. The findings provide an unbiased look at fans’ perspectives, enabling the creation and modification of messaging campaigns, venue reopening plans, and virtual engagement strategies.

If you are interested in utilizing this research or have any questions, please reach out to Jack Luce,

Survey questions address a number of major themes in the college sports landscape:

  • Fan attendance confidence and decision timelines
  • The relative importance of the most common safety protocols
  • Price sensitivity for college sports fans in the face of COVID -19
  • Donation/Development intentions
  • Communication and virtual engagement preferences

Initial findings show:

  • Safety protocol expectations
    • Venue sanitization, hand sanitizer stations, and mask requirements are top safety protocol expectations
    • Implementing expected safety protocols will drive 15% more football fans and 22% more winter sport fans to attend
  • Winter sport fans need more information
    • 35% unlikely to attend games
    • Two-thirds waiting on some form of communication from the athletic department before making decisions
  • Ticket credit/refund/donation decisions
    • 11% of fans unable to attend sporting events plan to convert their ticket purchase to a donation
    • More than one-third of fans unable to attend sporting events plan to ask for a full refund

Aspire’s Strategic Consulting & Research team developed the complimentary survey, which is available as a white-label product to any interested team or school. Each participating institution receives a copy of their respondent data as well as an analysis report.

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