Valuable Hybrid Event Lessons from the Sports World
By: Michael Guerriero
I find it interesting when I hear comments that virtual events can never replace physical events.
Why did we ever think that was the goal?
Do we say watching a sporting event on TV can never replace being in the stadium for the big game? Of course not. Everyone might be watching the same game, but they’re doing so from different “seats” with similar and different experiences to enjoy.
This same dynamic applies to professional events.
As physical events resume, it’s important that we not turn our backs on the new audiences who flocked to our virtual events this past year. Now is the perfect time to cast our nets wider to make events available not only to those who travel to our events, but to those who can’t OR choose not to attend in person.
A Closer Look at the NFL “Virtual” Success Story
The relationship between pro football and television started earlier than you think.
On October 22, 1939, the National Broadcasting Company was the first network to televise a pro football game when the Philadelphia Eagles lost to Brooklyn’s Dodgers. With 13,050 fans watching at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, another five hundred-or-so who owned televisions watched from the comfort of their homes.
It wasn’t until the mid-1960s, with the advent of color TV that viewership (and revenues) took off. Prior to that, many NFL owners were concerned televised games might compromise ticket sales, but the exact opposite happened. Television earned these NFL teams new legions of fans who were eager to watch regularly.
Fast forward today, did you know that television accounts for more than 50% of the NFL’s $15 billion in annual revenue? Less than half of NFL revenue comes from ticket sales, merchandising, etc.
At Digitell, we’ve watched similar success stories play out for our clients, as physical and virtual coexist beautifully and profitably. More importantly, we’ve been perfecting hybrid and virtual event solutions for more than a decade.
Intrigued? Please email me and let’s schedule a call. We’d love to learn more about your events and share recommendations you might consider for the hybrid road ahead.
Michael Guerriero has enjoyed 30+ years as a senior leader for the meetings and events industry. He now serves as President at Digitell, Inc. Outside of work, in addition to cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers, you’ll find Michael running, boating, golfing or enjoying time with his family.