COVID-19 hits us so hard. There are so many aspects of our lives that have been ruined by COVID-19. This is the situation that we can’t imagine before, and many of us are not ready to face this one.

Sports is one of the industries made dying by COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out sports calendars, especially football. How does this happen? Football is affected because it has the potential to create crowds. The game also has dominant physical contact for the players.

At the early spread of the pandemic, football tried to adapt, held games without fans. However, the match isn’t like a football game we know. Silent. Quiet. I remember the game between LASK against Manchester United in the Europa League. Only the voices of players and coaches were heard. You know, it’s like an internal game in training camp.

But finally, people are aware that this is a force majeure and football games need to be postponed.

“Football is not a society. Football is only a part of society.”

– Juergen Klopp

One by one the competition all around the world has been postponed. Except for Belarus which I have heard is still running in the middle of a pandemic.

In Indonesia, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) did the same thing in response to COVID-19. PSSI postponed all the competition without exception and canceled the training camp for the Indonesia national team.

The suspension of Liga 1 is taken to help the government reduce the risk of coronavirus spread. The league is planned to be postponed until May 29th, 2020. If the situation improves, there is a chance that the competition will start again on July 1st, 2020.

Football is struggling during the pandemic.

However, as a digital communications practitioner, I found the only thing that is not dying. There is creativity. What do I mean? I mean, yes, we are now in a hard situation, but the only way to keep engages with fans is to think creatively and implement that in the communication strategy.

People behind the sports team’s digital media are the ones who take an important role to maintain the business during a crisis. Yet, the team has to implement creative communication and PR minded communication.

Currently, data shows that traffic in digital has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. And sports lovers, who’s having missed the live sports and highlight content, are eager to look for other entertainment that is still focused on sports.

It’s such a good time for people who work in the creative sports industry. We must take this as a challenge. A challenge on how to produce content and engage with the fans in the way we’have never seen before.

In this special case, we can contribute with some creative ideas to fill the gap. Hoped to fill the missing part of each fan that is missing live sports.

How is it going with Indonesia’s clubs?

A few days ago, I analyzed and gathered data on the digital content activity and productivity of Indonesia’s Liga 1 clubs during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In Indonesia, the policy regarding work from home has been implemented since March 16th, 2020. Since then, creators or the media officers from each club in Indonesia began to think hard on how to carry out creative campaigns and create content with limited mobility and activity.

Productivity during the outbreak.

As far as I can see, for 30 days since the “work from home” policy, Persija Jakarta became the most active club on social media. Their total social media uploads are 91 contents with a minimum average of 3 uploads per day. They also never missed a presence on social media to upload content.

Meanwhile, Bali United, Persib, Borneo, and PSIS Semarang became a fairly active team with a minimum of 2.5 content uploaded a day. The lowest position is Persela Lamongan who only posts 23 content for 30 days, on average 0.8 content/day. They also became the club with the highest absence on social media, 13 days without content.

The presence is a vital number on social media, and every social media manager should aware of that importance. In case you missed it, we now live with algorithmic information. Once you absent to upload content in a day, then your social media accounts ranking signal can go down in the algorithm.

Growth during the outbreak

Seeing from a helicopter view, the growth of followers of Liga 1 clubs on Instagram was declining. The numbers decreased by an average of 20% in the last 30 days. But on the other hand, Persib Bandung has the greatest number of followers growth in the past 30 days. Persib has gained 81.798 followers. As in the second position, Persebaya Surabaya with a considerable distance of 36.398 follower growth.

Digital communication as investment

At this moment a club should be aware of investments in digital communication. No live event means no ticketing revenue and hospitality income. Commercial and broadcast contracts are also in a thin line that can break any second if not careful on how to achieve a win-win solution in this pandemic.

With no live sports to offer, the current suspension presents an opportunity to explore creative ways of driving digital fans engagement.

And now the landscape has changed. Fan’s behavior has also changed. It’s time to adapt well. Remember, there is a saying, not the big one that survives, but the adaptive one who can survive.

And a message for the social media managers of the sports team, this is our chance to break the boundaries of creativity which certainly has relevance to the values ​​carried by your club.

Try the creative things by collaborating with content ideas from other industries, or maybe collaborating with parties who have an influence on their audience, and at least have a slice with your target audiences.

We also can try a pop-culture approach in our content. Like PSSI did a few days ago. The content team created a greeting video inspired by Marvel’s opening.

Social media activities will be more exciting when we see collaboration instead of competition.

It would be interesting to see Persija Jakarta play tic-tac-toe against Persib Bandung on Twitter… or Persebaya Surabaya’s player plays FIFA20 online against Arema FC’s player.

How? Let’s do the collaboration!

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