Jun 8, 2020
Angela Ruggiero is cofounder and CEO of the market research firm the Sports Innovation Lab, and when we spoke in May, it was the week after the Bundesliga—Germany’s premier soccer league—began to play without fans in the stands. Outside, that is, of some cardboard facsimiles of fans that were purchased as part of a pandemic relief program.
It’s an imperfect—albeit necessary—set up for fans. And Ruggiero, who is a four-time women’s hockey Olympian and gold medalist, knows it’s also not an ideal situation for athletes, who feed off of a crowd’s energy.
But for the sports leagues and the related startups that can survive this transition period—and not all of them will—it could provide an opportunity to assess and invest in the kinds of infrastructure and tech upgrades, Ruggiero says, that will make live sports both safer and more engaging on the other side.