So what do you do when you find yourself in a global pandemic with a little more spare time on your hands? Create a survey, of course.
And coronavirus-related surveys have seen a real uptick the past couple of months, as seen in this handy graph (actual numbers may vary).
But in all seriousness, we created a short survey to see how the pandemic is affecting those working in the world of sports- those we call clients, partners and friends. One thing a survey can show you is that despite the isolation all of us are experiencing around the country, we all still think and feel very much the same way. It's actually one encouraging part of everything that's happening.
Thank you to all those who spent a couple minutes sharing your thoughts with us. And now, the results...
Our results came from 36 of the 50 US states, with a majority of respondents being from DI schools (85%). Of those that responded, 67% were football schools.
When asked what level of impact COVID-19 is having in the areas of ticketing, donations and sponsorships, it was clear that the level of impact was most consistent across all 3 areas for DI schools, but for non-football schools the donation levels were most severely being impacted (1=not at all, 10=severely).
For DII football schools, the level of impact is overall lower than DI (averaging closer to 4 vs 6.5), with ticket sales and sponsorship being the hardest hit areas. Non-football DII schools are comparable to DI, with donations and sponsorship being pretty evenly impacted.
For NAIA schools, only football schools were represented in the survey. The biggest impact by far has been in donations.
Since the pandemic is obviously keeping people away from players, coaches and facilities, we wanted to find out how that's affecting the digital space. It would seem logical that web and digital traffic would be up during this time. So how does it look?
With the lack of sports taking place, the need to go visit an athletics site to get a recap and review highlights is also decreasing, which is why we're probably seeing the largest portion of respondents saying they're about the same with the traffic numbers. Coincidentally, there are also about the same amount saying there's been an increase as there are saying there's been a decrease in web traffic (36% with an increase, 35% with a decrease). One thing that surveys don't answer are the reasons for the statistics, at least if you don't ask the questions. In this case, we didn't dig in to find out why there's more or less traffic, but suffice to say that this is a time that digital communication is going to become increasingly important for the world of sports to stay connected with fans.
For social media, Twitter looks like the biggest winner for engagement during the pandemic. Some might say TikTok is really gaining some steam during all of this - it seems like there's a new viral (the good kind) post every other day. But it proves that during a time like this, quick communication is king, and that's exactly what Twitter was built for.
Our last set of data breaks down some of the answers into 5 US Regions: West, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast. We thought it might be interesting to see how the results vary geographically across the country.
To help you out, here's a map of the region breakdowns.
For our question about the financial impact on the areas of ticket sales, donations and sponsorships, here are the results by region (1=not at all, 10=severely). You can see that the Northeast region has the highest impact for the areas of donations and sponsorships (also arguably the most impacted by COVID-19 overall). The Southeast and the West feel the impact most in the area of ticket sales.
The regions impacted by ticket sales are coincidentally the same regions that feel college football will not be starting on time (seen below). It begs the question: "Do the respondents answer this way because ticket sales are being impacted, or do these responses reflect the general population in the region who are also the ones not buying/renewing tickets because they think football will not start on time?" I know... just think about it for a second.
Just for comparison's sake, let's see how the different divisions breakdown for this same question.
It's interesting that the level of agreement that football will not start on time increases as we move from large divisions (with more football schools) to smaller divisions (with less football programs). Maybe DI schools are in denial, or just optimists. We're with you there- football starting on time is good for everyone.
Finally, we get to the final few questions that aren't necessarily as targeted to those working in sports, but we thought it would be interesting to see how the results turn out.
March Madness was the first big sporting event we missed out on that not only hit college sports, but might have been the turning point for many Americans about the seriousness of what we would be dealing with. It appears to still be the most disappointing cancellation in the sports world for our respondents, but slightly more for those in the Midwest and Southwest.
And lastly, let's find out how we feel about our state and federal governments and their ability to control the spread of COVID-19. We asked how well you think your state is doing controlling the spread of COVID-19 and separately, how well the federal government has done with this same task. Every region showed more support for their state government vs the federal government, but the Northeast and West regions had the greatest disparities between the state and federal levels. These were also the two hardest hit areas (East and West Coasts) so it's no surprise they feel that enough isn't being done. It's interesting though that the level of support seems to be pretty high at the state level and so negative at the federal level. Political? Maybe... but we won't open up that can of worms.
That wraps up our COVID-19 impact survey. Let's hope we don't have to do another one of these. We look forward to the world of sports opening back up and continuing our work with many of you.
Thank you again if you took part in the survey, and from all of us at Old Hat - stay safe.