The Lehigh Athletics’ Sales and Marketing department is not worried about the loss of revenue, despite the cancellation of the Patriot League and NCAA spring 2020 sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cancellation has left the department with no games and no money coming in from ticket sales. Though this may seem like a large fiscal loss on the surface, the department believes that the impact will be minimal.
“There will be some lost revenue from the cancellation of the spring athletics season,” said ticket services manager Jordan McElroy. “However, we are fortunate that the overwhelming majority of the events we sell tickets for have already come and gone.”
With no more games and events to look forward to, the Sales and Marketing department is setting its sights on the upcoming football season. McElroy said the department is still seeing a regular flow of tickets being purchased for next year’s football games even though they have not been actively marketing the season yet.
Despite the nationwide push for self-isolation and social distancing, the department remains hopeful that they will still be able to give fans the ability to enjoy sporting events in the coming fall.
“I do think that the absence of sports games will definitely increase attendance next year, as we are already feeling the effects of isolation, and would appreciate nothing more than to gather around with some friends and watch a good game,” said Croldy Veliz, a Sales and Marketing graduate assistant.
McElroy agreed with the sentiment and said he feels that people have felt the absence of sports in regard to the comradery that is felt from cheering on a team.
While the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of spring sports were unprecedented, the Sales and Marketing department had to adapt to the plethora of challenges thrown their way, Veliz said.
Veliz said the staff was told to work from home during this time to remain healthy and help flatten the curve. She said they are following the guidelines set in place by the government and university to prevent the spread of the virus. The department is using this time at home to work on many other tasks that would normally be held off until later in the season.
“The current situation has allowed our team to use this time not only to lay the groundwork for the 2020 (and) 2021 seasons but also to get creative in different ways to engage our constituents during this time that isn’t necessarily related to driving ticket sales,” McElroy said.
In addition to the work of the Sales and Marketing department, the Sports Communications and Multimedia team is also working on ways to keep the attention of the fans, while there are no games or meets.
The goal of Sports Communications during this time is to aid the Sales and Marketing department in their ultimate goal of ticket sales. Though their job has shifted due to the pandemic, they are experimenting with new multimedia experiences offered to fans and students.
The department has developed weekly “Quarantine Diaries,” which are videos designed to help keep the interest of fans by showing them a day in the life of a student-athlete.
“Now, with no more events this school year, the focus of Sports Communications simply shifts to telling the broader Lehigh Athletics story and generating interest in that way,” said Justin Lafleur, senior assistant director of Sports Communications, in an email. “We hope this keeps fans engaged and excited about everything Lehigh Athletics stands for, which may help sell tickets down the road.”