The Future of Live Events and Sports

Update #34 — February 11, 2022

In our 34th update to the “Future of Live Events & Sports: The Re-Emergence of Fans Post Covid-19”, and on the eve of Super Bowl weekend, we continue to track how our framework for understanding Fan Demand is impacted based on market-specific factors, venue initiatives, and fan avidity.  We have sifted through all the noisy data to bring you insights on how live events and sports will be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this update, we explore:

Market Analysis

The KAGR Fan Demand Index jumped up 12% this week after a 17% drop in early January due to the Omicron surge. New York City (+78%), Miami (+50%), and Atlanta and Boston (both at +25%) experienced the largest increase.  Minneapolis (-6%) was the only market to see a KAGR Fan Demand Index decrease over the past month. 

On average, recent confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased by 55% (after a 550% increase between late December and early January), driven by New York City (-91%), Cleveland (-89%), and Washington D.C. (-87%). 4 markets saw increases over the same time period led by Oklahoma City (+221%), Phoenix (+22%), and Minneapolis (+5%). Vaccination rates continues to increase, with the eligible market population (with at least one shot) up 3% in January. 

Consumer and economic indicators fell back across markets. Consumer behaviors decreased by more than 2% with Boston (-15%), New York City (-13%), and Orlando (-11%) experiencing the largest setback. Dining and entertainment also dropped 4% on average with Boston (-43%) and Minneapolis (-35%) seeing the largest decrease.  

We continue to examine the impact of the pandemic on go-forward fan demand and behaviors. We delineate markets with the Most Impact, as measured by the percent change from pre-pandemic levels, from those with the Least Impact. As the lights shine bright on Los Angeles this weekend, we saw a 33% drop in recent confirmed COVID-19 cases with dining and entertainment up 21%, increasing overall KAGR Fan Demand Index by 20%.

* KAGR Fan Demand index uses a variety of market data including COVID-19 factors, economic indicators, and other consumer behavior information. Impact to Pre-Pandemic Behaviors is defined as percent change of market indicators from pre-pandemic levels.

Fan Avidity at a Glance

With the Super Bowl just days away, the Olympics entering its second full week, and the Omicron surge on the down swing we are tracking several stories and trends to further understand fan demand, interests, and avidity.


In our last issue, we introduced a new series highlighting the impact of several factors, including cost of attendance, on both fan demand and in-venue attendance.  We examined MLB, identifying a meaningful impact of rising Fan Cost Index (FCI) on attendance[1] rates.

This issue, we look at the NFL and explore whether this trend is similar across other leagues. KAGR collected several pieces of publicly available data across the 2019 and 2021 seasons including attendance (measured as tickets distributed), club and stadium specific factors, and the Fan Cost Index.  To break our analysis down further, we look at fan cost of attendance at a league, region, and club level.

League Level:

At the league level, attendance dropped 3% from 2019 to 2021, while the average cost of attendance across the league increased by 5%.  In comparison, MLB saw attendance decrease by 16% and average cost of attendance increase by 7%.

Region Level:

* Regional breakdowns include:

At the regional level, we see relatively consistent increases in FCI across the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast with limited impact to attendance.  Both the West and Southwest regions show some exceptions – driven by two clubs, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders, as they settled into their new homes in 2021.

Specific NFL Club Analysis:

We selected ten clubs to compare across conferences and markets, representing a mix of regions, club performance, and historic fan avidity:


With MLB, we saw a more direct impact of FCI on attendance. However, there are still similar insights and trends across both leagues.  We see the new stadium phenomenon with Allegiant and Sofi driving favorable results for their respective clubs, like the Texas Rangers.  Also, increases in relative on field performance have fared well for both the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, similar to the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres.

As we continue to look to other leagues, we seek to further understand factors beyond cost and the impact on attendance. Will team performance and venue renovations favorably impact attendance in the NBA and NHL?  Has the pandemic changed the impact of season length and number of games on the fan’s willingness to attend?

[1] Attendance data for this analysis is defined as distributed tickets, publicly available through