It has been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic came. A lot of things have changed since then. Some industries have died, others are thriving, while many are trying their best to survive. Among the most affected industries are the sports and fitness industries. Gyms had no choice but to close down during the first few months of the pandemic. Major sports events such as the NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, World Cup, and the Olympics were also canceled.
It seemed as if these industries had been put to a stop. But it’s one of the few industries that are fighting to survive during the pandemic. Gyms have found a way to continue operating during the pandemic without going against protocols. Everyone is required to wear masks, some staff even wear PPEs, social distancing, and constant sanitizing is being done. Major sports associations are turning to media consumption as their way of earning. Broadcasting classic games and documentaries to keep people watching.
And this is only the beginning. Since the pandemic doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, especially with a new virus strain on the rise. We can expect even more changes to the sports and fitness industries soon. Here’s what we can expect to happen to these industries:
1. More pay per view content
We can’t expect live games to come back any time soon. What we can expect in the future is more pay per view content. Since sports associations need to find a way to earn money off their games in the future. We can expect them to have previous games up for streaming. Although FOX Sports and ESPN are already broadcasting some games on the TV, studies show that more people, especially those aged between 18-29, prefer streaming to TV broadcasts.
While the NFL and NBA have allowed free-streaming of their games over the pandemic. We can expect that this will change in the future especially if the pandemic plans to stay for longer. These companies will have to find a means to earn more and what better way than through pay-per-view? Think of it as Netflix for sports.
2. E-sports will become more popular
Back when e-sports was just starting, many people were debating whether e-sports was considered a real sport. In the recent 2019 SEA games, e-sports was included as one of the games. Many e-sports leagues and tournaments have also been held throughout the years with large cash pools. Bettors have also taken an interest in e-sports. Over the years e-sports has shown significant growth. And it has grown even bigger during the pandemic since it is a remote sport.
The answer is clear now, e-sports is definitely a sport and it’s going to be even more popular in the future. Yes, we can expect a drop when we start recovering from the pandemic. But one thing’s for sure, e-sports is being taken more seriously nowadays. And it’s going to be one of the most popular sports in the future.
3. Virtual events will be common
Thanks to technology even virtual sports events are possible. Take the Tour de France tournament for example. An app called Zwift has allowed cyclists to compete and ride the same route as the Tour de France in a virtual Tour de France race. All from the safety of their own homes. This is a great alternative to the actual race, for those who can’t afford to go to France. Virtual marathons can also be done through the Zwift app. So who knows what sports can also be integrated virtually in the future? And if some sports can’t be done virtually.
Another option would be to isolate the teams during the game season to train and play in a safe place. This time the virtual interaction will be focused on the fans instead of the athletes themselves. Fan interaction is very important for sports events. There would be no sports events if it were not for the fans. So sports associations must find a way to make their virtual events engaging for the fans. Aside from just letting them watch the games through a screen.
They should do something fun that’ll allow them to show their support for their teams. Like a virtual GIF photo booth with a filter or frame of their favorite teams. Something as simple as that can get the fans going.
4. Online coaching will be more popular
Aside from virtual sports events, online coaching will also become more popular. Online coaching was already being done before. But it is even more popular nowadays since people are afraid to go out. People are starting to realize that gyms aren’t always necessary to stay fit. You can reach your fitness goals just the same at home. Besides online coaching has more benefits than going to the gym. You get to be coached directly one-on-one and you don’t have to worry about people judging you. Aside from direct online coaching through Zoom calls. Complete home fitness programs can be purchased online as well.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things. And it looks like it’s not going away soon. So you can expect that at least one of these predictions will come true.