Fans split on idea of sports events behind closed doors

John Trainor, CEO of ONSIDE, explained that 29% of Irish adults plan on attending live sports and entertainment events as soon as the "stay at home" requirement is lifted or eased but pointed out that another 43% would hold off on such a course of action at first.
Fans split on idea of sports events behind closed doors
14,151 supporters attended the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 2 match between Limerick and Galway at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. 50% of sports fans do not agree with games being played behind closed doors after current restrictions are lifted according to ONSIDE. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Almost half of sports fans are not in favour with the idea of games being played behind closed doors when current restrictions on movements and gatherings are lifted.

The finding is among those published today in the ONSIDE Sponsorship Market Monitor which canvassed 1,000 people nationwide for opinions on a number of sports-related issues in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the knock-on effects.

John Trainor, CEO of ONSIDE, explained that 29% of Irish adults plan on attending live sports and entertainment events as soon as the "stay at home" requirement is lifted or eased but pointed out that another 43% would hold off on such a course of action at first.

“The alternative scenario of sports going ahead behind closed doors without spectators/crowds is also splitting public sentiment, with 28% for this strategy and 44% against,” said Trainor.

“This shows the complexity of the decisions to be made by rights holders and sponsors in planning how they play out the months ahead to deliver in the right way for their loyal customers and fans.”

The report found that the number of reported sponsorship deals dropped by 14% in the first quarter of 2020 when compared to the same quarter the year before and it should be noted that the current crisis didn't really hit sport here until the first week of March.

ONSIDE have found that one in two consumers here are in favour of brands maintaining, or increasing, to support sport, music, arts or cultural events through sponsorship and there were some interesting disparities in public opinion between here and the UK.

Only 7% of Irish adults expressed a disapproving view on how sports bodies here have acted during the crisis. That compares to an 18% figure among their brethren across the Irish Sea, a figure that is likely influenced by the actions of some Premier League clubs in recent weeks.

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