The Impact of COVID-19 Crisis on Major Spectator Sport Industry in the U.S. and South Korea: Challenges and Outlook

Sungho Cho, Na Ri Shin, Dae Hee Kwak, Amy Chan Hyung Kim, Won Seok Jang, Joon Sung Lee, Yong Jae Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explored the challenges facing sport leagues in the U.S. and Korea due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their strategies in dealing with the crisis, and what post-pandemic spectator sport industry in the two countries might look like. We recruited three industry practitioners from the U.S. and South Korea for a focus group interview conducted during a panel discussion organized by an academic organization. An inductive-open coding extracted several themes from the qualitative data. Main challenges included uncertainty, increased competition, and weakened fan experience. Strategies included contingency planning, flexible venue management, and revitalizing the fan experience. While the panel agreed that the pandemic constrained the industry’s traditional business practices, countervailing effects were also noted such as the facilitation of technological diffusion. This study presents implications for the industry and the relevant body of knowledge including: Technology-based media consumption, advanced risk management protocols and product characterizations, and approaches to incorporate sociocultural connotations of spectating sport.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Global Sport Management
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Sport industry
  • focus-group
  • risk management
  • sport leagues

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