Understanding Fan Behavior Series Part 1: Millennials

The current climate in sports and live entertainment is unlike anything the industry has ever seen. The days of cheering crowds and fans filling up venues have paused for the time being. Until the Coronavirus dissipates and fans start coming back to the stands, what can you do now to prepare for that day?

Buying Power

Understanding what fans will want when things get rolling again will be an important factor to building momentum. While there are fans of all ages and economic backgrounds, we’re going to dive into a group that stands out with some of the most powerful buying power across all generations: millennials. In the U.S. alone, there are 83 million millennials, attributing to $200 billion in annual buying power. As the biggest consumer group in the economy, they range in age from 24-39 in 2020.

In the U.S. alone, there are 83 million millennials, attributing to $200 billion in annual buying power.

Experience Sharing

With less focus on ownership and more on access, Millennials have been participating and spending dollars in a different way. They are no longer purchasing a product but seeking an outcome and an experience that they can share with others. In a report by Eventbrite/Harris Study, 78% of millennials surveyed said they would rather spend money on experiences than material things. Prior to COVID-19, millennials were spending their money on concert tickets, sporting events, festivals, and other experiential activities, valuing experiences above things.

78% of millennials surveyed said they would rather spend money on experiences than material things.

Millennial Motivators

Value

The average college student graduates with $10-30k in student loan debt, hindering the ability to afford big ticket items.

Atmosphere

Sports fans ranked atmosphere and excitement 24 points higher than any other reason as to what makes them most excited about attending live events.

Community

Youngers fans care less about team spirit and more about meeting and connecting with new people.

Flexible Focus

As millennials gravitate toward experiences, what are the behaviors influencing those purchasing decisions? Well, 52% of millennials said they were more likely to make a last-minute impulse purchase than any other generation. Part of the “experience” for these fans is the buying process. Having the ability to decide to purchase something at the click of a button is an important benefit to this generation, as they are used to instant gratification from an on-the-fly decision.

Having the ability to decide to purchase something at the click of a button is an important benefit to this generation, as they are used to instant gratification from an on-the-fly decision.

Seeking the memories and emotional benefits from events, millennials are also looking to try new experiences. Having flexible options gives fans a chance to attend events in a variety of ways, while also allowing them the ability to personalize the experience for themselves. Having those options at the tap of a button allows these fans to have better control over their decision making and offers ease in purchasing.

Subscription Mindset

Millennials are the driving force behind the “subscription economy,” valuing the ability to have access to events and being able to make decisions at the last minute. Millennials are also more likely to participate in the sharing economy (just think Uber or Lyft) with 53% indicating they are likely to partake in a car-sharing service, according to Zipcar.

“Because we (millennials) are so heavily reliant on our smart devices, we want to conveniently use services that work on them.”

Millennial Aarthi Rayapura states, “Because we (millennials) are so heavily reliant on our smart devices, we want to conveniently use services that work on them.” In fact, 72% of millennials said want to be connected across all devices. As a result, they gravitate towards subscription services such as Spotify and YouTube that provide on- the-go access and syncing across all smart devices. This desire for ease and control is a major factor in why the subscription economy is booming for this generation.

This desire for ease and control is a major factor in why the subscription economy is booming for this generation.

As the industry navigates the changing waters of COVID-19, one thing is certain. By understanding the historical behavior of your audience and adapting offerings to appeal directly to their wants and needs, you have a greater opportunity to get them buying again.

Key Takeaways: What You Can Do

For sources on the data listed here, please view the last page of our e-book.