Saving Sports and Entertainment with Science, Technology, & Data

Image courtesy of the Associated Press
Image courtesy of the Associated Press

This author went to law school not medical school.  However, leadership and management skills are not exclusive to education or profession.  They come with experience and in this day and age in collecting and understanding data.  

If sports and entertainment production wants to continue working well there have been some terrific principles demonstrated by the various professional sports leagues and Hollywood unions and production companies.  For one, the major unions in Hollywood, namely the actors union SAG-AFTRA, released a lengthy paper on how to proceed with production during a pandemic.  Sports leagues like the NHL, MLB, NBA, and MLS, not to mention international soccer leagues, have written the playbook (pun intended) on how to institute and play successfully professional sports with athletes.  Broadcasting partners and production companies have similarly adopted the rules and have innovated at the same time. 

Over the past few weeks, months, and years some innovations had led to the ability to succeed in digital production and streaming.  For example, the various sports leagues bubbles and geographic-zoning of scheduling without fans has led to more advertising space and better camera angles.  Production companies and broadcasters have similarly innovated and have found ways to cuts costs, while ensuring safety. 

Technology through the WHOOP band can collect user (e.g., athlete and coach) data immediately to keep track of health and safety to mediate concerns.  New NBA testing is nearly immediate.  By the way, despite the pandemic, arguably the economy has actually grown in sectors through innovation and adaptation.  Streaming is literally emoji-style on fire and is growing in new sectorsAthlete brand partnerships, venue construction, and franchise-buying has actually grown.  Even Hollywood has adapted its traditional theatrical window.  While no to little fan attendance has lowered revenues by 40% in some leagues among teams, the NCAA universities are considering private equity opportunities, sports betting and sponsorship is roaring back, NASCAR is rethinking its costs and business model, sports television talent is looking at new opportunities, and Steve Ballmer is going to secure a seven zero plus naming rights deal for his new arena. 

All the above to say that technology can assist science by avoiding in-person contact where business can be conducted less expensively, more efficiently, and safely when done digitally and virtually.  Data and analytics compliment science by identifying the problem areas and solving them through medical attention and solutions.    Leadership and good management is now needed to see these things through focusing less on fear and more on adaption and preparation.  Most great innovations and transformations in the economy and industry come through necessity.  Today is no different than yesterday in that regard.  One can only hope and pray that the things consumers love to enjoy will find a way to continue their growth and enjoyment. 


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