The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of live sports, music and entertainment forever. With the cancellation of large gatherings, events and the postponement of games, it's no surprise that sports teams, broadcasters, concert promoters and artists have been forced to think outside the box and find new ways to engage fans and bring these solutions into the action. Despite this unprecedented challenge, some incredibly innovative ideas and solutions have been popping up - live concerts streamed online directly from artists' homes, drive-in music performances, and simulated fan noise while sports teams compete in empty stadiums with no fans in the stands. It's clear businesses are slowly starting to reopen and are reimagining how the show can go on. We've compiled a short recap of what the new world of fan engagement currently looks like, and a few examples of what the future could look like in a post-COVID era.


Music & Entertainment

BTS BANG BANG CON THE LIVE

When social distancing restrictions were first implemented, we put together tips and tricks for engaging with music fans during cancelled and postponed events, and we've seen numerous music and entertainment organizations follow a lot of these trends. Live streaming through platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitch has been huge during these past few months. There have been many music and entertainment organizations live streaming performances. We've seen lots of cool live concerts such as Global Citizen and The World Health Organization's Together at Home live concert event held to support frontline healthcare workers and the WHO, which featured performances from 72 artists in eight hours. It holds the record for the most musical acts of any online music festival and set the record for the most money ever raised for charity through an online music festival. While most of the live-streamed concerts we've seen so far have been free to attend, some artists have been successfully getting donations from fans during these concerts, either for charity or to support the artist. There also have been artists who are having success with selling tickets to their concert live streams.

BTS "BANG BANG CON The Live"

BTS BANG BANG CON THE LIVE

BTS BANG BANG CON THE LIVE

K-pop superstars BTS made close to $20 million on their pay-per-view online concert in June 2020, breaking the record for the highest-paid online concert. BTS's "BANG BANG CON The Live" attracted over 756,600 concurrent viewers from 107 regions, breaking the record for the largest ever virtual concert and opening a new era for virtual shows. According to Big Hit Entertainment, that audience size is equal to 15 shows at a 50,000-capacity stadium. Tickets sold for $35 for a pre-ordered ticket or $26 for BTS fanclub members. As a result of the event, the BTS fanclub has grown by 10,000 members.

Laura Marling

Laura Marling at Union Chapel

Award-winning British folk artist Laura Marling sold 4,500 virtual tickets for her concert live stream at London's Union Chapel. According to Pollstar, Laura sold five times the amount of tickets than she could've sold for an in-person concert since the venue's capacity is 900 people. The Grammy-nominated artist sold about 2000 tickets for a second live stream that was exclusively broadcast to the US. Tickets sold for £12 for the UK and $12 for the US, totaling £45,000 ($57,000) and $24,000, respectively.

Travis Scott & Fortnite Present: Astronomical

Travis Scott Fortnite Concert

While many of these online live concerts are streamed via social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitch and YouTube, there are quite a few being live-streamed via video games. For example, multiplayer game Fortnite continues to amaze fans with its live events, as each new event gets more elaborate than the last. Fortnite is transforming the music and entertainment industry with its immersive concert experiences. In April 2020, Fortnite teamed up with Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott for the live concert event: Fortnite and Travis Scott Present: Astronomical. The live concert event occurred over three days with five showtimes, maximizing fan reach. Over 27.7 million unique players attended the three-day concert event and players participated more than 45.8 million times over the five showtimes. A whopping 12.3 million fans attended the first showtime alone, a new record for Fortnite. Fortnite's new Party Royale mode is a non-violent version of Fortnite, meant to be a laidback environment where players can hang out and socialize with their friends, free of weapons and building, making it the perfect place to host virtual concerts. DJ and EDM producer Diplo was the first musician to perform a live concert in Party Royale mode. Learn more about how Fortnite is redefining the virtual concert experience here.

The Future of Live Music & Entertainment

The success of live stream concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic indicates they will continue until it is safe for fans to return to concert venues and festival grounds. Although venues may return to full capacity or reduced capacity with social distancing measures in place, it still is likely that live stream concerts will continue post-COVID due to their accessibility and affordability for fans. Live stream concerts open the opportunity for more fans to see their favourite artists perform as the cost of attendance has so far been free or relatively low compared to the price of a ticket to an in-person concert, which can range from tens to hundreds of dollars. In-person concerts also have limited seats available and performances are at select locations. For example, a BTS concert ticket typically costs around $300 on average with a limited number of seats and shows at select cities only. Meanwhile, their recent virtual concert was available for fans all around the world to attend, with tickets costing $35.


Sports

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From creating conversations on social through social media to fan engagement campaigns with exclusive prizes for fans, professional sports organizations have found many different ways to engage with fans while games have been on pause. It has been incredible seeing how sports organizations have been able to engage their fans despite games being on pause and league openings delayed. With fans spending more time online, especially on social media, teams are taking advantage of this by using social platforms to engage with their fans during this time. There have been many innovative ways teams are doing this, such as through live trivia, photo contests, Instagram Live Q&As with players, and fun TikTok hashtag challenges. Curious about how sports teams are successfully doing it? Check out our What's Kraken content series to see how the Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Mavericks, Tennessee Titans and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Football Team, and Portland Trail Blazers are taking an innovative approach to bring fans closer to their teams, players, and brands.

When games began to go on pause, we highlighted some ways sports organizations can engage with their fans. Now that we are seeing several professional sports leagues preparing to return, such as the MLB, MLS, NBA, and NHL, this is giving us a picture of what live sports will look like without fans in the stands. Live streaming is one way fans can still watch their favourite teams. Professional sports teams that are making a comeback are turning to live streaming technology to broadcast their games so that fans can still watch games while they aren't able to be in stands. Online live streaming will allow teams to reach larger audiences as more fans will be able to tune into the live streams through their computers and on mobile. Thanks to the internet, they won't need a cable subscription and will instead pay a monthly subscription fee for a streaming platform or will pay-per-view. As sports return to a sense of normalcy, we will see more and more teams using live streaming via many platforms, including Facebook, Twitch and YouTube.


Australian Football League's Virtual Fans

AFL Western Bulldogs Virtual Fan Army

Sports teams that have already returned have been coming up with cool solutions to keep their fans engaged while they can't physically go to games. Take the Australian Football League (AFL)'s Western Bulldogs for example. They partnered with Tradable Bits to create a fun Virtual Cheer Squad activation where Bulldogs fans uploaded photos of themselves in Bulldogs gear for the opportunity to have their photo appear on a cardboard cut-out in the stands at Marvel Stadium. Some leagues like the Premier League are featuring virtual fan walls via video conferencing platforms to get their fans virtually in the stands from the comfort of their couches. From live fan virtual fan walls via video conferencing to the Western Bulldogs' fan cardboard cut-outs, these are some of the innovative ways you can get your fans virtually in the stands when they can't physically be at games.

The Future of Live Sports

The capabilities and accessibility of sports live streams during these unprecedented times indicates they will continue until it is safe for fans to return to the stands. The future of stadiums may have fans back in the stands to full capacity or with social distancing measures in place; therefore, live streaming games will be a great option to keep sports accessible to fans who are unable to go to games physically.



Looking for ways to engage your fans in the new world of fan engagement? Contact us to book a demo and learn how Tradable Bits can help future-proof your marketing plan and help keep you ahead of the curve.

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