The Future of Live Sporting Events is in Jeopardy

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

With the Super Bowl less than one week away, many fans will have to make the difficult decision to either make the trip to Tampa Bay or stay home and watch the big game on their flatscreen. With COVID-19 running rampant, the future of live sporting events have perplexed both collegiate and professional event coordinators.

Since the start of the pandemic, the only organizations that have attempted to bring fans to live sporting events are the National Football League (NFL) and certain universities that are apart of the NCAA.

During the 2020-2021 football season, I got a unique opportunity to work as a guest services representative for the Kansas City Chiefs. Apart from getting to see the defending Super Bowl champions play at every home game (a big perk), I was tasked with enforcing new stadium policies.

Before COVID-19, GSR’s that worked for the Chiefs were charged with making sure that fans were behaving (not drinking excessively and/or fighting). Now, that role has shifted to making sure fans have their mask on at all times, unless they are actively eating or drinking, as well as social distancing.

Unfortunately, these new rules were not always the easiest to enforce.

Although most people are willing to comply in exchange for a three hour escape from reality, there are still people who decide that wearing a mask is optional. So, as an organization, it is up to personnel to decide if they will allow fans to cheer on their favorite teams in person or not.

As an organization, there are many decisions that need to be made when allowing fans to come back into stadiums/arenas. First, should every fan that enters into a stadium/arena be tested? For Bills Mafia, in order to see the game live, they had to get tested for COVID as well as provide proof that the test was negative. Another decision that needs to be made is if concession stands should be open.

Although concession stands bring in a substantial amount of money for organizations, allowing for people to take their masks down for an extended period of time can potentially lead to the spread of the virus. Likewise, while working at the Chiefs stadium, I noticed that the more alcohol people consumed, the less willing they are to comply with COVID-19 protocols. Lastly, although all NFL teams that hosted fans had a capacity limit, is it necessary to increase or decrease that limit based on COVID numbers that week?

Unfortunately, these are just a fraction of the questions that need to be asked and answered in order for fans to come back into stadiums/arenas. So, if you are one of the lucky people that will be in Tampa Bay this weekend, remember to have fun (for me as well) and comply with all COVID rules in order to keep yourself as well as others around you safe. GO CHIEFS!

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