“Will Fans Be Tested?”

November 30, 2020

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Sports Business Journal Article by Karn Dhingra and John Lombardo.

Read more of the article by Sports Business Journal here.

“Bernie Mullin, a former team and league executive, is now founder and chairman of The Aspire Group, which specializes in building fan relationships across ticketing. He said the agency has surveyed tens of thousands of fans and found their reactions to COVID to be “frankly all over the place.”

“For the avid fans, if it takes being tested to attend a game, they will do it. Our best guess is that’s about one-third of all fans,” Mullin said. “The middle third, in our experience, are currently buying tickets, when they are available, but not necessarily attending. So it’s hard to know if they’d accept a test as a pre-condition to attending. The final third of fans are expressing negativity about attending at all right now, with some of this group saying they may never come back. We expect that opinion to soften with time passing and those fans attending not becoming infected to any significant degree.”

Jack Luce, director of strategy, analytics and marketing of The Aspire Group, referenced how 9/11 changed the travel and live event industry in terms of security. “Thinking about the influx of security checks and metal detectors, that kind of serves as a proxy for a changed impact on your experience and obviously fans have adjusted to that,” Luce said. “This is a little more invasive, it has to do with their personal health, so I don’t know if we’ve seen something like this, at least in the past, or in recent years.”

An Aspire Group survey of more than 5,000 fans, however, did show that 61% of respondents said COVID testing of game-day staff was “very important” or “extremely important” to their decision on whether to attend an event.”

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