After 17 months of empty seats and echoing stadiums, capacity crowds returned in force on the first weekend of the new Premier League season in the UK. It brought home instantly what we have been missing. IT was back.
The passion, the atmosphere and the raw emotion that sport can generate and that spectators deliver came flooding forward.
There is no doubt that the spectacle at elite level is not just greatly enhanced with a crowd present but immeasurably and unquantifiably improved.
Typically, one of the single biggest differences between competing at elite and lower levels is the size of the viewing audience, be that physical, broadcast or digital.
Playing without crowds during the pandemic was a throwback for many athletes and it was no surprise that clubs and leagues quickly sought out tech-based solutions - to bring supporters and partners closer to the action.
In truth, this is the very same vision that my company, Joymo, has been built upon.
Our guiding principle has always been about connectivity and making sure that wherever people are in the world they can watch the sports and performers that matter to them.
Some of the most emotive scenes from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were the celebrations of the friends, family and teammates of medallists, followed by the reunions with loved ones as they returned from the Olympic bubble. The BBC brought this very thing home superbly in their closing montage:
It shined a light on the support structure these Olympians had been separated from, and who play a crucial role in the lives and careers of these elite level athletes. It’s no different further down the sporting pyramid.
Every child, teen and adult playing sport benefits from supporters - be those family, friends, teammates or coaches who enable their participation and are the sounding board that you analyse and debate your performance with.
Joymo is committed to changing the game for it’s players, clubs, federations and fans by opening up new revenue streams that were previously unimaginable for those operating at the non-elite level.
Not only that, but Joymo puts you in complete control of your content, data and on-site advertising, whilst providing industry-defining safeguarding standards and built-in GDPR capabilities.
We are passionate about connecting sports to its audiences, at all levels. It’s in our DNA and informs all of our product development and integrations.
In a post-Covid world, and one where it’s harder than ever for this support team to be present physically at every event, Joymo enables your biggest fans to be pitch-side no matter where or when you are performing.
In the present day, whatever the level of sport, a priority should be how to better connect and engage with the potential fan base via digital means.
I use the word potential as this isn’t just about the hardcore supporters, the loyalists who follow you no matter what, but also new fans that might not have realised that they could connect directly with a team, club, league or individual performer.
At the top-level, this connection is often a conduit to driving large-scale monetisation and revenue generation through memberships, subscriptions, merchandise sales and more.
At a more micro-level, this might simply be about survival and sustainability.
For us as Joymo, it’s about operating an easy-to-use platform that keeps players, clubs and federations connected to their fans across all platforms and devices.
Even now, as supporters return to venues, the digital connection has never been more important to the future of organised sport.