AFL Preliminary Final - Adelaide Crows vs Geelong
AFL Preliminary Final - Adelaide Crows vs Geelong

Big battle facing sport, live events

Australia's sporting and live entertainment industries will face huge challenges in filling seats after the lockdown period, with only about one in four people saying they are likely to attend public events.

Online research carried out by the Australian financial services app Humaniti over the weekend revealed just 28 per cent of the 967 respondents said they were likely to attend a sporting match even once restrictions are lifted.

Forty per cent of respondents said they were unlikely to attend and 20 per cent were unsure, while a further 21 per cent said they didn't normally go to sporting events.

 

Packed crowds at Adelaide Oval catch a game between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats. Getting bums on seats will be a challenge even after lockdown. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
Packed crowds at Adelaide Oval catch a game between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats. Getting bums on seats will be a challenge even after lockdown. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

 

There were similar levels of concern about other live events.

Just 25 per cent of respondents said they were likely to go to a concert or gig once restrictions were lifted, and only 27 per cent said they would attend a live show.

Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson told News Corp that the entertainment industry will "need to give people confidence that it's safe to come back".

The sector would be working on "recovery and reactivation plans" over the next four weeks, Ms Richardson said, amid hopes that some live events could be staged in late September.

Melbourne Theatre Company could be one of the first companies to return to the stage, with plans to re-open its 2020 season with As You Like It in September.

 

Evelyn Richardson, Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
Evelyn Richardson, Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia. Picture: Stuart McEvoy

 

The Humaniti survey data suggested a trip to the movies was a bit less of a concern, with 44 per cent of respondents saying they were likely to attend a film screening once lockdown restrictions were lifted, compared to 22 per cent who said they would not. Almost one quarter (24 per cent) said they were unsure.

HOYTS CEO Damian Keogh said the chain planned to re-open by early July, "subject to the required government approvals and availability of new release Hollywood content".

"We are advanced in preparations to ensure our guests and team members are in the safest possible environment," Mr Keogh said.

"These measures will include additional staff training, temperature checks for staff, additional cleaning protocols, in-cinema seat separation (chequerboard style), encouragement for online bookings and social distancing."

 

Hoyts CEO Damian Keogh. Picture: Britta Campion
Hoyts CEO Damian Keogh. Picture: Britta Campion

 

Of Australia's major sporting codes, only the NRL has confirmed a resumption of matches - scheduled for May 20 - but no date has been set for the return of spectators.

An NRL spokesman told News Corp yesterday that it would be up to the government as to when spectators could be allowed back.

It has been suggested that event organisers could make downloading the federal government's COVIDSafe app a condition of entry - thus allaying some concerns for nervous patrons - but Ms Richardson said this would not be happening.

"We wouldn't insist upon it," she said. "We would obviously encourage people to download the app … but we wouldn't be saying that you couldn't enter a venue if you don't have the app. The government's been very clear about it being voluntary, not mandatory."

 

 

 

Originally published as Big battle facing sport, live events