Majority of U.S. Sports Fans Need More Reassurance to Attend Games Again, According to National Survey from Tappit

Over half of respondents would feel more comfortable in stadiums that began accepting contactless forms of payment

Tappit, the leading global payment and data ecosystem for events, attractions, stadiums and venues, today released the findings of a recently conducted survey of American sports fans regarding their comfort levels in returning to live games, how they have kept engaged with their favorite leagues and teams during COVID-19, and the precautions stadiums must put in place to make them feel safe. The findings show that currently, only 27% of respondents are looking to go to a sporting event in the next six months. The numbers look more promising when looking at the next 12 months, where 58% of Americans are aiming to attend a sporting event in that time.

In making a decision about whether to attend an event, the majority of respondents (78%) claimed sitting too close to other spectators was a factor impacting their decision, whilst 52% stated that long lines at concession stands would have an impact on their decision to return, followed by 45% mentioning the reduced atmosphere in the venue. The survey also reflected the physical measures that fans believed were most important to implement, with social distancing throughout the stadium being the major driver. An overwhelming 71% of the respondents said they were in favour of social distancing measures, followed by sanitising stations (58%) and temperature checks (48%). 

Aside from the concerns around capacity and sanitisation, ways to reduce lines around concessions and speed up transactions are also welcomed, as the likelihood of transmitting germs and bacteria are significantly amplified in crowded places like long queues. When asked specifically around the introduction of contactless payment solutions to reduce the risks around COVID-19, over half (56%) of American sports fans stated they would feel more comfortable if their team’s stadium implemented contactless payment options.

Although only 15% of American sports fans have attended a major league sporting event since the start of the pandemic (mostly due to the majority of leagues shuttering their stadiums to fans), of those who have attended a game to date, 72% felt their team’s venue did a good job of making them feel safe and comfortable — a great indicator that stadiums and venues who are allowing spectators are taking concerns seriously and putting fans’ health and safety first.

“Although a large percentage of American sports fans currently feel uncomfortable attending in-person games, there are numerous initiatives that stadiums are implementing that make spectators feel more at ease,”


said Jason Thomas, Global CEO of Tappit.


“Our data suggests that if all venues address the key concerns around social distancing, long lines and minimising contact, then fans would be much more willing to attend events. There are a host of measures that can be put in place that will help fans feel safe and return faster, from speeding up transactions using contactless payments through to reducing person-to-person contact and providing sanitiser stations.”


While most Americans still have their concerns when it comes to attending major league sports again, the survey found that teams are still doing a fantastic job at engaging with fans digitally. 61% of fans feel valued by their team when they connect with them over social media, online marketing content and more. Across the board, fans are looking for personalised engagement from their favourite teams, especially since the majority are still unwilling to attend in-person games.

Tappit surveyed 1,500 Americans aged 18 and older for this report. For the results of the survey, click here.

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