The World of Live Events In 2021: 10 Things To Watch

I just finished reading the introduction to The Economist‘s annual look ahead issue and at the start, the editor offers up 10 things to watch in the year ahead, I wanted to do that for the areas I work in and I’ll start in the world of tickets and live entertainment.

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  1. The rate of vaccination: This is going to be the big story because despite what anyone else says, until we have a sufficient number of people vaccinated it is going to be really difficult to have large scale events with full crowds.
  2. The economic recovery: Again, this is predicated on the rate of vaccination and how quickly countries get the pandemic under control, but once we start to see the pandemic come under control, we will start looking at the economy. If people aren’t economically comfortable, they won’t go to the theatre or a concert.
  3. Consumers attention: History points out that folks’ habits change during a pandemic. I’m sure that despite what any of us think right now, we are going to come back out of this thing with a bit of a different view on the world than we entered last year with. And, that’s going to create challenges and opportunities. Have people been pulled into new activities? We will have to see.
  4. How much wishful thinking will we see? We’ve seen that at every turn people have been placing most of their bets on the best case scenario and the pandemic has kicked us in the shins over and over. In my opinion, this has slowed up some of the reinvention and reimagining that would give folks a head start on solving some of the problems that they were dealing with before the pandemic and that may have only been accelerated further by the pandemic.
  5. Who lives and who dies? That’s going to be a big question, unfortunately. But some venues, businesses, and organizations aren’t going to make it through the pandemic. I saw a prediction that something like 90% of brokers might not come back to the ticket game once the pandemic is over.
  6. How quickly will people adapt and change: Change is the only certainty in life and we have two choices: try and ignore change or embrace it. The people that embrace change are going to be much more successful than the ones that are hoping for a magic bullet or that things are just going to snap back like nothing happened.
  7. Will people really focus on their customers? Some organizations have adapted to the pandemic and changed their relationships with their customers in ways that will definitely pay off in the long-term. Others have not. Paying attention to how people focus on their customers will tell us a lot about the recovery.
  8. Will women’s sports continue to grow: In the last year, we’ve seen Tottenham Hotspur bring in Alex Morgan on a loan, knowing she could help elevate their brand in the States. We’ve seen NWSL ratings jump 500%. And, we’ve seen the WNBA players play a huge role in a Senate election that elevated the league’s brand awareness at the same time. There are a lot of positives that women’s sports have seen over the last few years and it will be interesting to see whether or not that continues.
  9. How will bat and ball sports deal with their revenue slides: In general, I think that what we saw in tickets before the pandemic will not be the model that takes over when we return. We’ve also seen that lacking fans is a bigger financial hit for teams than we realized during the pandemic. How this is handled will be interesting.
  10. Look to Australia and New Zealand for ideas about the future: These two countries are in their summers now so they are likely showing us what to expect in a few months in the northern hemisphere, so look to them to see how things are going. Plus, its fun to imagine a visit to see our friends down under!

What predictions do you have? Let me know in the comments!

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