Onside Research Indicates Fans Waiting on Vaccine

The latest wave of the ONSIDE Sponsorship Market Monitor has revealed that 44 per cent of Irish adults claim that they will only attend live sports events or concerts when a vaccine is available for Covid-19.

That number is consistent across the varying sports fan bases of GAA, Rugby and Irish soccer.

It is likely the number is a little coloured by media speculation around the production of a vaccine.

Science pleads for a little more caution in terms of a timeframe and if it is years rather than months we imagine a greater balance of risk and reward may come into focus.

It is also likely that the core supporters would be more likely to return and it may be the ‘event’ based attendees that are more cautious.

17 per cent of those surveyed in the consumer research were in favour of events going ahead in Ireland with live attendees later this year, with the majority opting for reduced capacity in stadia.

One in five said that they wanted the return of sporting action to take place behind closed doors with TV coverage.

4 in 10 Irish adults believe the playoffs for the Republic of Ireland reaching the UEFA European Championships in 2021 should be played out later this year.

“Age is a definite factor in Irish adults’ return to play preferences, said John Trainor, CEO of ONSIDE.

“While 3 in 10 young Irish adults aged 18-24 are against these games being played out this year, this grows to 52% of adults aged 45-64.”

“The return to sports on the global stage has been a success for early movers so far, with high interest and viewership gains won for many. Over 6 million viewers tuned in across Germany for Sky’s coverage of the return to football between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, which represents a doubling of what would have been expected for the game under normal circumstances.”

“Similarly, the return of Nascar’s North American stock car racing series on May 17th delivered an average audience of 6.32 million viewers for US broadcast network Fox, up nearly 40% compared to the last race to take place before the series was paused due to the current pandemic.”

The ONSIDE survey also uncovered a more cautious approach by the Irish public to returning to live music, arts and theatre performances at major indoor venues in 2020, with 1 in 4 in favour of reduced capacity or digitally streamed music concerts, while close to 6 in 10 would rather see such events in major indoor entertainment venues hold off on a return until 2021.

Striking a somewhat positive note for income streams of sports, music and theatre rights holders in Ireland, 30 per cent of Irish adults would be ready to buy a ticket now to a major sports, music or theatre event that is due to take place in the first half of next year.

“Encouragingly for the indoor music and theatre sector, their ‘regular fans’ in particular are more likely to be ready to buy into 2021 shows now, with 48 per cent of regular goers to venues like the 3 Arena and Bord Gáis Energy Theatre ready to buy tickets now for 2021 shows at such venues.”

Testing the business case for sponsorship within this landscape, the latest ONSIDE research found that 53% of sports fans and 60% of music and arts event-goers believe that in today’s economy, it is more important than ever for companies to invest in sponsorship and 56% of avid Irish sports fans went on to say that they would be more inclined to support companies or brands who in turn continue to support their favourite sports events and teams through sponsorship.


The second wave of our important research with ONSIDE into the Impact on Sport and Sponsorship in Ireland of COVID-19 kicks off next week for Sport for Business members.

We will revisit the important questions in terms of confidence and sentiment seven weeks on from when we conducted the first wave.

It has been a period of unprecedented challenge and change and it will be fascinating to get a fully developed snapshot of ho we feel as a sector.

In addition to those questions asked before, we also touch on the perception of how activations in the community and across a multitude of brands and sporting properties have gone down.

When and how do you believe that sport will make a return? What impact will the crisis have on support for Women’s sport and on the sector as a whole?

How we feel as an industry is important in terms of how we plot and plan for a resumption of activity.

The research is open to all Sport for Business Member organisations.  A link to complete it will be included in next Monday’s Sport for Business Daily Digest and if you want to join in, contact us direct from today  via rob@sportforbusiness.com

The survey will remain open until Friday morning, May 29th and the results will be made available in full to those who have taken part in early June.


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