Over two-fifths (44%) of Americans say they will attend fewer large public events after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak ends, according to research at the end of March by sports and event research firm Performance Research.

A similar number said their attendance will remain the same (38%), while just one-fifth (18%) said they will attend more large public events.

However, consumers are most likely to value public events more after the outbreak has ended – 46% of consumers say so, compared to 16% who will value them less.

Major indoor venues may suffer the greatest long-term impact. Over half of consumers say it will take 'a few months and possibly never' to feel comfortable attending major indoor concert venues (56%) and major outdoor sports events (51%).

Over one-third of consumers say it will take 'a few months and possibly never' to feel comfortable visiting outdoor parks and beaches (37%), which rises to 44% for major outdoor sports venues and 45% for zoos.

The out-of-home advertising market has been among the hit worst by COVID-19 – marketers have cut their traditional OOH spend by 41% in May and June while digital OOH will drop by 38%. This is exacerbated by the pressures the entertainment and restaurant sectors are currently facing, both of which are heavy investors in outdoor advertising. Darden Restaurants, owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, is focusing on its delivery capabilities with an obvious shift to digital adspend.

Sports sponsorship is particularly vulnerable given the cancellation of leagues and tournaments. The NFL, NBA and MLB alone were expected to draw $4bn from sponsors in 2020. While sports broadcasters are turning to e-sports, this content may not directly resonate with traditional sports fans.

Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis

This article is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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