Sports events are crushing the events industry. Sporting event revenue segments to about $10.9 million in the U.S., and is expected to grow about 5.9% over the next 4 years. Even better? Sports events have powerful brands and offer even more powerful experiences to attendees, keeping fans glued to their seats. Take notes, event planners.
How do they do it? What do sporting events have that event planners in other sectors can take advantage of? Here are 5 Sports Event Trends going into 2020, and what event planners can learn from them.
Striving for Social
Sporting events are social. There’s always cheering, drinks, and laughter. By the end of the game, friends go home closer and often go home with new friends, too. Businesses take clients to ball games, companies go to games to bond the same way fans do. Networking, personal and even professional, seems to be one of the biggest reasons people attend sporting events. Attendees go to bond with the people sitting next to them, even total strangers. In 2019 and going into 2020, this is even more of a priority.
Attendees want a social experience. How can event planners make their events more social, to facilitate the networking attendees are after? Games are always classic. Watching a game is great, but playing one can be even better, getting attendees comfortable with each other before the event even properly starts. A pre-event social or happy hour is another more relaxed way to got attendees comfortable chatting. Seating arrangements are another great way to facilitate meet-and-greets. At sporting events, attendees agonize over and compete over getting great seats, and more importantly, getting seats together. How can you make this easy at your event? Can you seat parties together, as well as parties with similar interests nearby? Last, the tried and true way is just to encourage attendees to say hi to the person next to them. Give them a few moments to chat, maybe even promoting them to see what they have in common. These small steps can go a long way in facilitating attendee networking, one of if not the main reason people will attend your event.
Ticketing Could be in Trouble
Ticketing could go through more turmoil. College sports, football especially, have been struggling with ticketing. More and more empty seats go empty each year. Sales have been going down, forcing vendors to raise prices, meaning even less cycle.
Sparxo is an approved ticket printer for the California State Athletic Commission, so we like to think we know a few things about sports ticketing. We also have a bone to pick. Ticketing platforms often take big chunks of ticket sales, forcing organizers to require donation upfront before attendees can even buy season tickets. Secondary markets are popular as they let attendees pick and choose specific games of the season, but they often come with even higher service fees. Clearly, losing money in ticketing costs both the event planners and the attendees.
Event-planners in all sectors are looking for a free way to sell tickets and keep as much revenue as possible, giving you the resources to put on an incredible event at an affordable price. Unfortunately, most ticket sales software take big percentages of ticket sales, cost too much, promote competing events, and eclipse your nonprofit’s brand. You can use Sparxo to post your event and sell tickets for your event anywhere, letting you sell tickets directly from your website with no redirects – all for free! Sparxo let’s you:
- Keep 100% of your ticket sales
- Import your guest lists and sales lists from other systems
- aggregate all of your customer data in one place
- White Label, greatly improves SEO and Brand
Brand and Familiar Faces
Sports events are all about brand. Teams have their own style, their own logo, a distinct personality and history that attendees care about. Attendees care about particular players and athletes because they understand their brand, where the player comes from and what they’re like. Attendees can follow a team’s journey online or on TV, reading up on their stats and style. This holds true for just about any event. If attendees understand what you stand for, if they can follow the event’s journey, they’ll be so much more invested. Is your event on social media? Do you use ‘storytelling tactics’ when presenting your mission, giving attendees a clear value proposition with a story they can relate to? The power of an accessible event brand that attendees can follow will make all the difference.
Attendees go to sporting events for familiar faces. They usually have a favorite player or an athlete they know or follow. This connection makes the attendee go to all their games, the familiar face bringing them back again and again. The power of a familiar face is universal, a kind of human branding that can make all the difference. When attendees get to know a member staff or an event planner personally, they become so much more connected to the event, the experience connecting on a human level. Often, a handshake and a pleasant conversation with an event planner will bring attendees back again and again. They’ll be invested in the future of the event, staying interested in newsletters and updates. As an event planner, meeting attendees or at least VIP attendees personally is one of the most important steps you can take to keep them happy and keep them coming back.
Grab-N-Go Food & Drink
At fast-paced sports games and big stadiums, grab-and-go food & drink services have really taken off. Grab-N-go gives attendees options while seriously reducing wait times. At any event where food & drink are not the focus, Grab-N-Go services can be a convenient way to give attendees variety while keeping things moving. Waiting in line at a sports event can mean missing the best moments. That’s just as true for any event. Opting for a convenient Grab-N-Go catering style could save your attendees valuable time, ensuring they don’t miss key networking, learning, or just plain fun opportunities at your event.
Free Races to the Front
A major draw of live sports events? Free stuff. Promotions, giveaways, swag bags, and merchandise has been and will continue to be a reason attendees love live sports events. Even better? The freebies tend to be exclusive, usually branded, often only on offer for people who actually attend the event. Attendees can’t usually get freebies by watching the game from a computer screen. Sure, not every sports attendee wins a car or a season pass, but there are usually t-shirts and grab bags to be had, or at the very least peanuts. Raffles and promotional contests are also a great way to get attendees involved, occasionally even bringing them up onto the field to make a pitch or battle a mascot.
Consider adding giveaways to your event. Swag bags are always popular, giving attendees a thank you while also spreading your brand. Raffles and contests could even be money makers for your event. Give attendees something they couldn’t possibly get if they’d stayed at home. Not only will this make them feel appreciated, but they’ll have a memento to remember the event by. And what event planner doesn’t their event to be remembered? Freebies are a deceptively simple way to impress and draw in attendees. It works at sporting events, and it could very well work for you.