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When baseball returns, will fans return as well?

Major League BaseballPlanning is tough due to the lack of actionable data, but as the baseball industry preps for the 2020 season, one study indicates that things won’t snap back to normal when it comes to venues and events.

A study from Performance Research, based on polling of over 1,000 representative U.S. consumers by online sampling partner Full Circle Research between March 23 and March 26, indicates that people will be slow to return to large events.

According to the study, when respondents were asked if they will attend “Fewer,” “About The Same Number” or “More” events once they are safe to attend, the highest percentage (44 percent) predicted they will attend fewer, while 38 percent reported their attendance won’t be impacted; the remaining 18 percent indicated they will attend more events.

Outdoor events come out better than indoor events, with 51 percent saying it would take them a few months or longer to return to indoor sports or concert venues, while 44 percent reported the same for outdoor venues. Similarly, 33 percent indicated they will likely attend indoor sports or concert venues less often post-coronavirus pandemic, while just 26 percent reported the same for outdoor venues.

When they return, respondents said cleanliness will be a huge concern: two-thirds claimed they will be more worried about cleanliness/sanitation of the venue overall (66 percent), cleanliness of the restrooms (66 percent), and cleanliness of the food service area (65 percent). A majority (59 percent) reported their concern about crowding or close contact with strangers will be higher than it was pre-pandemic.

But there is hope: in general, nearly half of consumers (46 percent) say they will value events more than they used to due to their experience with the pandemic and social distancing, and 53 percent agreed that they will have a pent-up desire to return to the events they loved once the pandemic has passed. You can view the full results of the study here.

With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge. Sign up here.

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