Whether through bubbles, frequent testing or outdoor workouts, sports leagues have largely adapted to the challenge of bringing sports back to viewers. Now, industry leaders are pivoting toward bringing viewers back to sports, both virtually and in-person when it is safe to do so.
The final episode of Variety’s Rebooting the Entertainment Industry series, sponsored by PwC and Ad Council, “Sports Leadership Vision During COVID-19,” was moderated by Jay Tucker from the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES) at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Featured panelists were Adam Grossman, chief marketing officer for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management; Danita Johnson, president and chief operating officer for the Los Angeles Sparks; Marissa Daly, vice president and general manager of media for the Los Angeles Rams; and Mark McCaffrey, partner and U.S. Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry leader at PwC.
Panelists discussed their respective sports organizations’ resumption of games and adaptation to virtual fan engagement amid the pandemic, as well as athletes’ and leagues’ social justice activism with regard to Black Lives Matter. Looking toward the future, the industry leaders also explored innovative ways to bring back in-person attendance.
“What resilience everybody has shown considering where we started and the unknowns, and the ability to get the leagues up and running,” McCaffrey said. “And quite frankly not only for the league’s sake, but to show that this can be done. When you control the environment, you can get up and running, and I think as you look at the country and where we stand today with the pandemic, with systemic racism, the leagues are really standing out as an example of how to put the best foot forward, and put the best minds into this.”