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Ideas Strategy2020-10-27

The Global Takeaway October 2020

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What’s Next for Professional Sports?

Scarcity of sports during lockdown created huge rating expectations for the return of live events. Fans yearned for their favorite sports to provide them with a much-needed escape from 2020’s mounting stresses. However, live ratings across the return of most games were at all-time lows, despite players in bubbles competing at an all-time high.

Across most popular prime time sports, ratings saw double-digit declines, and 10 of the 16 total telecasts have sunk by at least 50% (sportsmediawatch). This dip in ratings may lead some to believe that COVID was a death knell for primetime sports. Rather, it’s a sign that sports fans are adapting and expanding their consumption habits to be driven by players, not by games.


  • The lack of new competition led fans to rewatch old games, spurring the growth of recap culture vs. live consumption (Yahoo).

  • Odell Beckham, Jr. recently made his professional streamer debut with other major personalities, breaking Twitch records (newrepublic).

  • NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster recently launched Team Diverge, an athlete-led gaming entertainment and lifestyle company (esportsinsider).

  • The NBA partnered with @Addisonre, a top TikTok influencer, to create some of its highest-performing content to date to expand its influence among non-traditional fans (TikTok).

Why it matters 

Reach is no longer as easy as buying primetime coverage. With the growth of player agency as well as fans following players outside of primetime games much more than during, advertisers may need to look to player niches and off-the-court channels to create new moments of mass appeal. 


New travel in the new normal

Before the pandemic brought the world to a halt, the travel industry in APAC was healthy and booming, valued at $446 billion in 2019 (ThinkWithGoogle). Unfortunately, it became one of the hardest hit in the wake of COVID. Luckily, it seems that recovery is in the future, with 1 in 2 consumers across APAC eager or very eager to begin travel and exploration again (TWG). However, one size does not fit all. 

The “new normal” has seen the rise of new regional consumer shifts when it comes to travel, as well as a marketplace attempting to adapt and survive.


  • What travellers view as “safe” varies by region; 40% of travelers in China prefer hotels as safer, cleaner options for travel, while New Zealand prefers domestic bookings on providers like Airbnb. (TWG)

  • Much like the US, “workations” are a growing trend in Japan, with travelers moving to remote beach-filled areas to find new work environments, raising concerns that it could blur the line between work and personal life even further (JPTimes). 

  • Amazon Explore & Airbnb are igniting the dreaming stage of travel plans by encouraging travelers to book live, virtual experiences led by local experts (Amazon & Airbnb). 

Why it matters

Regional nuances impacting and fragmenting travel recovery means a dynamic country-by-country approach is a necessity. Rather than using broad travel affinities, we should use nuanced media choices and segment based on dynamic and granular data analytics, accounting for sociocultural, regional, behavioral, and pandemic stage factors to help reduce travel friction and increase brand love.