The unthinkable has happened. Concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has canceled or postponed every sport. The initial reaction was shock, which then turned into deep, heartfelt loss for athletes. As the emails to parents, interviews with the media and putting on a brave face for the athletes subside, coaches and athletic directors are faced with a tough question, “What do we do now?”
Watchfire offers these few ideas to help you make a positive impact on your program, despite this year’s dark season.
GROW YOUR PROGRAM
Strategize for the future. Take this time to put your one-year, five-year and 10-year program goals in writing. Outline how you are going to achieve excellence in competition, academics, integrity, funding, and fan and athlete experiences.
Explore esports. Next year, the USA is expected to have 84 million esports viewers, five million more spectators than Major League Baseball. Educate yourself on this new sports market, ask your players for feedback, participate in an event and discover how it could spark fans and revenue.
Find new funding opportunities. With businesses facing uncertain times, it is a difficult time to ask for sponsorships and donations. Use this time to develop opportunities with greater added marketing values for your supporters. Watchfire offers free downloads: scoreboard ad ideas and a revenue calculator to help.
Take courses. Look to national and state associations for e-learning opportunities, like concussion-awareness training, Title IX and administrative training.
Develop a skill. Now is a great time to learn. Whether for your business or personal life, you may catch yourself thinking, "I wish I knew how to do that."
Take an Ignite Sports refresher. Watchfire’s scoring and game content management software is easy to use, but a refresher can be useful and expand on your skill set. Training is free for schools with Watchfire sports displays and our software team is available to help. Click to schedule training.
Thank boosters. Fans and alumni are also disappointed by seasons that have been cut short, postponed or canceled. A quick call or email can help them still feel connected.
Thank players and fans. Ask the person who schedules the school’s Watchfire entrance sign to include messages of support for your student athletes and their fans.
Don’t forget your sports reporter. No games and no scores means very little sports news. Thank reporters who have supported your team every season. Offer story ideas and interviews with your staff and athletes.
VIDEO SCOREBOARD & DISPLAY
Don’t have a video board? It’s a great time to look into one. Watchfire offers numerous resources. Plus, we welcome calls and emails seeking ideas and ballpark pricing.
Create new video board content. Create a great library of necessary pieces, like bathroom way-finding information and sportsmanship messages.
Give yourself a new look. With Ignite Sports software, you can redesign player profiles and scoreboard looks. Use the built-in editor or experiment with free online design tools, like Canva.
Find new artwork. Ignite Sports has hundreds of animations and graphics included, but many websites also offer images and videos with cost-free licensing. Sites like Pixaby and Unsplash offer creative common content that can be used on your video board. Watchfire supports creativity, but also encourages our customers to stay compliant with copyrights and fair use laws.
Upgrade your office. A thorough cleaning, furniture rearrangement or general organization will let you hit the ground running for the next season.
Go digital. How many times have you copied a paper form, because there is no electronic version? From spreadsheets to scheduling apps, now is a good time to digitize these important documents.
Update your website. The problem with most athletic websites is finding time to keep them current. Now is the time to clean up web pages with new schedules and updated photos and information.
Recharge and refocus. Everyone is experiencing an adjustment period to the “new” normal. Take some downtime. Studies have shown that brief periods of downtime can restore focus, energy and productivity.
Strengthen relationships. Separate from networking, think about the people who are important to you and consider when's the last time you paid them proper attention. Use technology to stay connected with free apps for messaging and video chats.
Remember, they will play again. By staying safe and focusing on the positive, each sports program can enter their next season stronger than ever before.
We are all in this together.