How sports events are unique, and why people always will attend
If you are a sports organiser, you are selling a product to your ticket buyers where your customers also bring massive value to the product themselves. You can even describe them as vital parts of the product they are paying you good money to purchase. That is quite something of a business concept!
We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
These are not my words, but the words of the Dalai Lama XIV, and what he is pointing out is important to remember if you are involved in the event industry one way or another.
You are not part of something dispensable. You are part of a necessity.
Prohibitions, pandemics or law enforcement
What do you remember from your childhood days? My guess is that various events are among the first things that springs to mind if you remember back. A fabulous birthday party? A theatre play? Your first major sports event?
What are you now looking forward to? It will not surprise me if it is more or less just the same. Maybe an upcoming party? A theatre play? A major sports event?
In the US in the 1920s, during the prohibition, thousands of speakeasies popped up. These illicit bars, also referred to as blind pigs or gin joints, ranged from fancy clubs with jazz bands and ballroom dance floors to dingy backrooms, basements and rooms inside apartments. Their major purpose was of course to serve booze, but who wants to drink alone? What they actually did was to gather people and light the spark to what is now the nightlife industry.
A hundred years later, during the Covid pandemic in the UK, we then saw Partygate unfold in the garden of 10 Downing Street. Who wants to drink alone? Boris certainly did not.
My point with this rather long introduction is this: We human beings are social beings, and we love the company of others. In fact we love it so much that not even prohibitions, pandemics or law enforcement will hold us back.
Energy, excitement and the power of love
If you’re a part of the event industry one way or another, that is a solid foundation to rely your existence upon.
Then we have the sports industry, and spectator sports in particular, where the foundation is even stronger.
One major difference between sports events and other events is that you never know what is going to happen. Anything can happen during the game. Your team may be huge favourites, but still loose. Or they may be inferior underdogs, and still come out on top. This element of unpredictability is unique for sports events.
Then there’s the atmosphere. There is an energy and excitement at a live sporting event that is unlike anything else. The spectators are not only spectators. They are participants, and through cheers and chants they are actually having an impact on what is happening on the pitch.
This impact comes from the heart of each and every one present at the stands, because they are not neutral spectators. They are fans - and this is where the really strong power of sports events lies. It lies within the feeling of togetherness that sports and only sports (with a possible exception for religion) is able to offer.
The power of love
When I interviewed Director Paul Williamson at Two Circles a few weeks back for TicketingPodcast.com, he stated that ticketing for sports events is about much more than just selling a ticket:
What are we trying to sell them? We're trying to sell them more than live sport for 90 minutes. We're trying to sell them a dream, he said.
Check out this podcast episode here
If you are a sports organiser, you are selling a product to your ticket buyers where your customers also bring massive value to the product themselves. You can even describe them as vital parts of the product they are paying you good money to purchase.
Does this mean that you are exploiting them? Not at all. You are giving them everything they are desiring. Entertainment. Excitement. Joy. But first and foremost you are giving them togetherness.
That is what we all crave, deep within ourselves, and that is why live sporting events are so resilient towards recessions or troubled times like as we are seeing nowadays.
Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that.
- Bill Shankly