How Much Do Events Need Fans?

The societal impacts of COVID-19 left the public missing out on live entertainment of all forms. Stuck and isolated in our homes, fans are missing going to games and concerts both. To get any form of live entertainment, fans are resorting to virtual online events, drive-in shows, and limited capacity events.

There is another side to this though, and that is the performers. Just as much as fans want live events again, performers want and need fans in the stands again due to the profound effect they have on the events and performances themselves.

An obvious reason is the monetary effect of fans. Teams and venues need the revenue generated from both ticket sales as well as food, beverage, and merchandise sales. Major League Baseball recently publicized that fanless games would create a $640,000 loss per game for teams and the league. This is obviously not sustainable long term.

Outside of financial motivations, players and artists have described the impact on their performance from having fans in the stands. This can come from the cheering from fans to even the silly impact of golf shots being saved after bouncing kindly off a spectator. Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck even mentioned the possibility of pumping crowd noise into stadiums during games. There are other potential effects studied and seen across many sports including the impact on homefield advantage, officiating, as well as just the generally creepy atmosphere for players.

The impact of crowds is similar to musicians. They thrive and feed off of them during live concerts, and fans oftentimes become part of the performance itself. Dave Grohl wrote eloquently about the importance of the crowd in live performances.

All this goes to show, as much as fans desire live entertainment, the performers might need the fans even more both financially and emotionally. With both sides aligned in this, it leaves little doubt that live events will be back. The main questions to solve are when and how.