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    How to Support Your Team During COVID-19

    We’ll see this year come and go with the last ‘normal’ live sporting event in Arizona being held over nine (9) months ago. Not that it’s overly important but to my best recollection this was probably a spring training game the weekend of March 14th. Since then we’ve had outright cancellations, games in empty stadiums, and games with limited fans.

    Essentially it’s been a whole year of disjointed seasons in odd settings. As 2020 winds down, I’d love to be able to say ‘good riddance’ but it looks like the Covid thing is going to stick around to muck up 2021 as well.

    We, as fans, are suffering and they, as teams, are suffering too. We don’t get to support our teams by buying tickets, paying for parking and going big at the concession stand. Fans are not having the experiences we love (no offense TV) and revenue is way off for our sports teams. It’s a lose/lose situation for us all.

    There’s not much we can do as fans…or is there? What is it that we can do as fans to support our favorite team when we can’t come to games and cheer them on? This sounds like a list in the making. Alas, here are ten (10) things you can do to support your favorite sports team during the pandemic.

    1. Follow your team(s) on every social media platform they are active on and be sure to share their posts with your network. Encourage your fan friends to do the same.
    2. Engage their posts with positive comments … show that you are paying attention to what they are doing.
    3. Teams are creatively selling cardboard cutouts to place in their empty arenas. These are a great way to show your support!
    4. Watch games on TV or listen to them on the radio.
    5. Support their sponsors to the best of your ability and be vocal about why you are doing commerce with them. I can best exemplify this by saying if you eat at Raising Cane’s and you tell the drive-thru window guy that you eat at Cane’s because they are a sponsor of the Cardinals, eventually, that will trickle up … especially if lots of people do it.
    6. Buy items from the team shop … and buy items for your friends and family this holiday season. Yes, they technically still make money if you buy items from other retailers but the team shop affords them better returns.
    7. Change your license plate to a team specific plate on your vehicle. Every professional team in the market now has a specialty plate as does ASU, NAU and the school located in Tucson. Into charitable giving? The Fiesta Bowl now has a specialty plate too.
    8. If you are in the financial position to do so, getting ahead of your season ticket purchase is also valuable. Teams monetize their attendance and having the ability to show strong renewals is an important factor in negotiating sponsorship business.
    9. Support any and all charitable initiatives your team may be engaged in. This is always a good idea.
    10. Engage content relative to your team on other forms of media that cover sports. Media entities take note of what gets the most engagement and develop their content strategies accordingly. If your team gets more coverage, their games will have better ratings which leads to bigger sponsorship dollars for your team.

    I agree that this is most certainly a difficult time in the history of modern sports but I’m also sure we’ll all get through it. In the meantime, you may need to channel your fandom in different ways than what you’re used to.

    Sports serve as a great distraction for our society and as long as games are being played we can temporarily set aside some of the concerns we have for other issues to root for our team. It takes a great deal of effort for teams to compete under the current circumstances. I’m appreciative to all the men and women who work tirelessly to make sure the games go on. The very best way we can support their efforts is to continue to support our favorite teams the best we can.

    About the author: Ed Olsen is the CEO of Line Drive Sports Marketing. He is a former adjunct professor at Arizona State University and has lots of opinions on all things sports.

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