Foul Play or Fair Game? Part 2

April, 2020

Horizon Media conducted research early in the COVID-19 outbreak that indicated fans were divided about athlete testing – some believed athletes deserved priority as they higher at risk, others believed they received preferential treatment. Right or wrong, many fans agreed it at least brought attention to the situation. Weeks later, further research shows fans are again torn – they want sports up and running but have concerns about those involved in this comeback.

As talk around the return of sports resumes, so does conversation around athlete testing; offering properties a mulligan – the chance to address any residual tensions around early testing – as well as a platform to reassure their commitment to the safety and experience of the players and fans themselves.

As COVID-19 testing becomes more accessible to everyone, concerns of athletes moving to the front of the line will likely ease. Until then, learnings from initial fan reactions show the need for context and transparency. Clear communication around testing protocol and the emotional and practical benefits of sports returning can help generate support:

  • Testing protocols
  • Commitment to plays/fans
  • Economic stimulus
  • Bring people together
  • Something to celebrate

Source: Horizon Media, Finger on the Pulse. Survey fielded 4/14/20-4/23/20, n=1,038

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