SFIA Offers Insight Into The Future of Football

The thought is on every team dealer’s mind these days: What is the future of their most important sport — football in America? Hearing that call, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) recently published a document outlining its projections for just what we can all expect when – if – sports return.

Here is an excerpt from that report:

First and foremost, return to play will be dictated by health mandates. We know that there will be pressure to start playing sports, especially football, throughout the summer, but regular lobbying will not be effective against health considerations. The health and safety of our children is top priority.

Once school is back in session (as normal), schools and leagues will be considering a variety of options around return to sports.

Most people think there will be a focus on starting slowly. Organizations, especially at the youth level, will want to keep everything local and operate a little differently, perhaps by placing more emphasis on practice than games. There will be major efforts to get kids on the field, even if spectators at games may need to come later.

Football has several factors in its favor:

1) Cost out-of-pocket per individual, in many cases, is smaller than other sports. A majority of equipment cost has already been absorbed by the school/league/team.

2) Football doesnʼt cut/restrict players in most cases; if a kid wants to play a sport, football is available. This is even more important following months of enforced shelter in place, causing pent-up demand for physical activity.

3) Football is community. There is tons of energy and psycho-social momentum. The return to football is surrogate for some normalcy in many communities.

4) Football is local. The sport does not rely on travel infrastructure, quite unlike soccer, basketball and baseball.

Discussions with administrators and coaches around the country find that most people are preparing to play in the fall. They say, “Weʼre getting ready, so as soon as we can, weʼre getting on the field.” And, “As of now, weʼre full speed ahead for football in the fall, until the minute someone tells us for sure weʼre not playing.”

Leagues, organizations and communities are eager and ready, but wary of what fall conditions may bring.

A lot of football people are considering modifications to their normal schedule, such as starting pre-season much later and running their seasons later into November/December.