The NFL faces its first true test of COVID-19 protocols, sports bars are closing permanently in droves, sports memorabilia investment platforms are on a hot streak, and sports has a Gen Z problem.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL is now struggling with a coronavirus outbreak as several members of the Tennessee Titans organization have tested positive. Both the Titans and the Minnesota Vikings — who played Tennessee Sunday — were sidelined yesterday.
Three Titans players and five personnel tested positive for COVID-19, creating the first serious test of the league’s protocols.
While no official decision has been made about the Titans’ game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL intends for the game to be played as scheduled, per ESPN. The game could be moved to Monday to allow for additional testing and contact tracing.
The NFL’s COVID-19 Protocols:
Players and staff who tested positive will be isolated, monitored and given medical care.
Contract tracing data has been reviewed to identify those who were close to the players and staff who tested positive. Those individuals have been isolated and will receive additional testing.
None of the officials of the Titans-Vikings game will work in Week 4.
In-person activities for the Titans and Vikings were suspended pending further developments.
Gregg Pachkowski-Pensacola News Journal via Imagn
Nearly a third of sports bars across the U.S. could close by the end of the year as a result of the pandemic. Last year, there were approximately 95,000 total sports bars, a number that could drop to 66,000.
Between forced closures and customer hesitancy to dine out during a global pandemic, sports bars — and restaurants in general — are hurting. Some estimates suggest the bar and grill sector, worth $29 billion, could have its revenue drop by 50% in 2020.
Across the country, 15% of restaurants and bars — more than 100,000 — have closed permanently. All told, the National Restaurant Association is expecting a loss of $240 billion in sales.
U.S. Sports Bar Chains By 2019 Sales:
Buffalo Wild Wings — $3.6 billion
Hooters — $859 million
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s — $171 million
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Platforms that allow users to invest in sports memorabilia are on a hot streak. Yesterday, Rally Rd. announced anew $17 million investment round, building on a month that saw Collectable and Alt — two other fractional investment platforms — both launch.
All the platforms allow for users to buy shares of sports memorabilia, ranging from a 1953 Mickey Mantle baseball card to a baseball bat owned by Babe Ruth. The trend isn’t limited to sports as platforms for art and wine have also emerged.
The alternative assets do pose some liquidity questions, but the pandemic has created a new focus on sports memorabilia. Sports cards specifically have become a hot seller on eBay — with sales from March to May 92% higher than the last three months of 2019.
Sports Memorabilia Value Surge:
175% — 12-year ROI on the PWCC 500 Index of trading card value
$3.9 million — Record-setting sale by a Mike Trout rookie card
$1.8 million — Sale this summer of a LeBron James rookie card
Sports’ Gen Z Problem
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
America’s youth aren’t identifying as sports fans. A recent survey by Morning Consult found that just 53% of Gen Z respondents — those aged 13-23 — identify as sports fans. That’s down from 69% of millennials and 63% of adults overall. A whopping 39% of Gen Z said they never watch sports.
The generational divide was most evident when looking at males, in which 58% of Gen Z males are sports fans, compared to 75% of all men. Gen Z did outperform all adults in interest for three of 27 sports: NBA, esports and UFC.
Gen Z’s relative ambivalence to sports shows why tapping into their consumption habits — like TikTok and mobile-first tendencies — is a key objective moving forward for sports organizations.
Gen Z Sports Withdrawal:
49% are fans of the NFL (vs 59% of all adults)
47% are fans of the NBA (vs 45%)
35% are fans of esports (vs 19%)
32% are fans of MLB (vs 50%)
29% are fans of UFC (vs 29%)
25% are fans of the NHL (vs 38%)
Content Marketing: Real Time Storytelling in the COVID Era
During a time of sporting events with no fans, the PGA TOUR has been put in an interesting position of having to tell the stories of their tournaments in a whole new way.
Join us on today at 1 PM ET as Laura Neal, SVP of Media, Content & Communications at the PGA TOUR, Matt Bordonaro, VP, Head of Media Relations at Travelers, and Ryan Jordan, Executive Creative Director at imre join FOS for a chat on how the PGA TOUR has executed their storytelling strategy during the COVID-19 era.
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