Future Media: Sports, TV Could Occupy A Test-Filled Live Entertainment World

Good news about live-event-based media businesses from a Citicorp note.

A blood test for COVID-19 could mean a quicker return of U.S. workers and others -- up to 90 million could return to work with positive tests by July. Is that crazily optimistic? What about the rest of the 70 million workers out there, as well as the 240 million people overall in the U.S?

Just waiting for the phone call.

The entertainment business -- especially movie theaters, musical events and professional sports leagues -- would all cheer this news. It would give them key medical data to augment a return to normality.

Right now, the big NBA season, as well as the NHL, are both nearing the end of the regular-season game schedule and would be into the playoffs. That could mean two leagues looking at a near-term, somewhat partial resumption of activities.



But not, as yet, able to accommodate live fans in stadium/arena seats.

Speaking on CNBC, Marc Lasry, chairman-CEO of Avenue Capital and owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, thinks the league might get going in 60 days. But that would mean a lot of testing -- and not just the players and support staff. Think about people maybe attending in part and at a safe distance.

Also, testing would need to be redone every few days. Whew.

Major League Baseball has been mulling using Arizona and Florida as two central places for all its 30 teams to play. It's the locale of many spring training baseball parks. The MLB could isolate players in hotels for a weeks at a time — possibly with an increased number of doubleheaders, with no fans at the ballparks, only a TV audience.

Movie theaters are already contemplating allowing some film screenings -- but there would be a couple of seats separating each filmgoer. Even then, many believe you need way more data for everyone to see and analyze -- movie-goers and business executives -- for everyone to feel safe.

Much of this key data could be on everyone's mobile phone. A simple app might signify whether one has been exposed to the virus, has actually had it and/or recovered from it.

Singapore already has such a contract-tracing app that it wants all its citizens to download. Would U.S. citizens download such an app to help curb the virus? No doubt this would run directly into the always-tendentious privacy concerns.

But would that really include energetic young moviegoers and sports fans? Maybe not so much, given those consumers' higher acceptance of all things digital, especially mobile apps.

Maybe downloading such a contact-tracing app might be OK with some consumers. But according to a new survey, 60% are not OK with sharing “location data” when it comes to COVID-19 issues.

First, businesses would need to identify which consumer segments would go back to regular activities in a seemingly longer than expected pandemic media world.

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