The Financial & Cultural Impact Of Fans Returning To Live Events
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people live since it hit the world in 2020. Despite being social animals, people have had to stay indoors and isolate themselves to avoid the spread of the virus.
Now, with the rigorous vaccination drives, authorities like CDC have begun going easy on the social distancing mandates that were passed not so long ago as binding on every citizen. However, since every citizen has not been vaccinated, a threat to one person is still a threat to everyone.
In such a situation, things are pretty complicated for fans who have been waiting for a long time to go back to stadiums and other public environments to attend their favorite live events. It also puts a lot of pressure on organizations arranging such events amid a pandemic, taking into account that they have already incurred losses in the previous year.
Here is how fans returning to live events like WWE and other sports events might have a financial and cultural impact on society.
The Re-Launching Of WWE Live Events
It was shocking to fans when WWE had to wrap up its upcoming events in March 2020. When the pandemic hit the world, they had to shift events to the empty WWE Performance Center in Orlando, as stated by CBS WWE. Here, they continued with their monthly pay-per-view and weekly television shows. Still, nothing was the same for WWE without crowds cheering in the arena.
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Since WWE is an event that gets molded by the crowd’s reaction, things went south for the business; it was also disheartening for fans. For example, characters are built on the storylines of different wrestling tournaments depending on the audience’s reaction to it, as stated by The Sportster. A lot depends on the viewer’s acceptance or rejection of a character. But the pandemic interrupted this creative spontaneity when live events began running without any feedback from the crowd.
WWE eventually installed about 1000 LED boards in Orlando’s Amway Center so that fans could at least have the virtual experience of being there for a live show. However, the stationing of these boards kept changing until WWE decided to launch a live event once again. It was held in April when WrestleMania 37 was organized for a limited number of people in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
Social Distance, Mental Toll
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Social distancing has become trickier with the arrival of vaccines and the increasing leniency of managing the situation. According to The State, the CDC has allowed vaccinated citizens of the US to attend small-scale social events for a smaller time window without wearing a mask or having to social distance.
Unfortunately, the safety of going about it this way is still debatable, as not everyone may get vaccinated at the same time. Moreover, the aspect of fans returning to live events might not be as simple. People would be passionate about an event but can still feel threatened to go out in public amid a pandemic.
The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health, not just with countless deaths but also with the blatant disruption of everyday lives. Furthermore, the impact on fans looking forward to attending future live events is also unprecedented and unpredictable. Even before the pandemic, WWE fans proved to react inconsistently to live events, as stated by World Socilast Website. So there is practically no way to predict how the ‘Great American Reunion’ shall turn out to be.
The Impact On Finances And Infrastructure
Closing down stadiums and live events has turned out to be financially overbearing for organizations that manage these events and draw huge profits out of them. But even the return of crowds in the stadiums to attend such programs might become quite overwhelming and chaotic.
Although safety measures have been adopted while welcoming back fans to stadiums, for example, the NBA placed t-shirts on stadium seats to indicate to fans where they could sit and watch a match. According to Sport Techie, about 9000 people were allowed to attend a live game while separating the vaccinated and unvaccinated crowd.
But the pandemic has proven to be so erratic that no safety measure seems foolproof. The management system at airports gets adversely affected when large crowds make it impossible for social distancing norms to be applied. The confusion regarding masking mandates creates extra chaos at airports, making it increasingly difficult for executives to manage crowds.
In a nutshell, moving from a pre-pandemic time to a post-pandemic time has made authorities and the masses more unprepared to deal with social gatherings than they can imagine. As such, a lot of responsibility falls upon the shoulders of fans returning to live events and the management organizations that arrange them.
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Sources: Sport Techie, World Socilast Website, The State, The Sportster, CBS WWE
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