02 August 2021

Sport after the pandemic: How will recovery take shape?

We take a look at the prospects for the sports sector after an 18 month hiatus

18 months of inactivity for NGBs and key sporting bodies has meant that memberships and, participation has practically halved. The financial implications of this halving are profound.


The potential long-term impact on the sports ecosystem 

Governing bodies, competition organisers, clubs, owners/investors, athletes, broadcasters, sponsors, suppliers, and fans — can expect impacts across multiple organisational and strategic areas:• Competitions and calendars. Postponement, cancellation and expungement of events and competitions looks set to radically alter the sports calendar over the coming years, with innovative changes to existing formats looking likely in a number of sports (faster, easier to set up competitions including England Lacrosse’s ‘The Fly’, cricket’s ‘The 100’ and rugby’s short format competitions).

  • Operating models. Disruption is pushing some organisations to transition to new operating models that they may have already been considering. Others will be forced to adapt - whether they’ve been planning to or not, although many will see this as an opportunity to transform.
  • Commercial relationships. How can ecosystem members support and strengthen relationships with broadcasters, sponsors, and partners amid the difficult legal and financial implications of an abrupt shutdown? And what do these arrangements look like going forward?
  • Fan engagement. How will teams, owners, and sponsors re-think the fan experience? Will the virtualisation of support become the norm or will we see a return to previous levels in physical support?
  • Investment. Consideration could be given to alternative sources of finance which help to safeguard the sport going forward. This may mean that new ways of looking at issues is necessary, perhaps through engaging with external organisations or experts outside of sport.
  • Digital Workplace. Giving a remote workforce access to scalable, secure, virtual systems may require new investments in digital services.


Industry workforce impacts

Paid coaches suffered the most significant fall in numbers in sport – dropping by 63% during the pandemic. Activities projecting the most significant decreases in the number of paid coaching staff include Archery (45%), Athletics (38%) and Boxing (43%).

Digitisation of processes:

One of the positives of the pandemic has been that digital processes and remote activities increased exponentially. Meaning that even the most technophobic of users were motivated to use technology to stay involved in commerce and society in general. Users are now more comfortable with ‘doing it online’.

Rocca has developed a number of technologies to support sports, including event and fixtures management software, online bookings, registrations and venue check-ins via apps.

A call to collaborate:

Rocca. is collaborating with organisations in sport, building new technologies to engage participants, from athletes to officials. It is our ambition to work in sport to realise new approaches to the challenges which have been given strong focus, thanks to the pandemic.

Reach out to learn more about how Rocca. is using technology and user experience design to realise better engagement and virtual systems in sport.