Listen for a moment in your mind and you will hear it – that jingle serving as a melodic reminder of some of the greatest events across the years. Whether for the Olympics or the Super Bowl, you know the one I mean. Those melodies hearken great things and are a visceral part of our memory of past viewings, both live and from behind a screen. We recall the feats of prowess, the amazing visual spectacles, and the elation from a successful result. All in all, this is what defines an exceptional experience – one that stays with us for years to come, potentially changing us along the way.
And so here we are again, on the eve of both these events – the 2018 Winter Olympics and the LII Super Bowl, looking forward to once again hearing those melodies and participating in some way. Thinking close to home, we in the pro-AV industry also look forward to seeing how our industry has contributed to making these events happen and to bringing it to the world at large.
Pro-AV’s role in all of this is something many viewers will not notice – at least hopefully not! After all, in an exceptional experience the technology itself is transparent to the viewer, it merely enables the experience but does not necessarily make itself known. Knowing that AV is involved is more typical when something DOESN’T go right than when it DOES. This is the nature of the beast for an industry sometimes more known for its failures than its successes, since it is during those moments we are more conscious of the technology side.
Recognized or not, AV technology and the professionals who install, manage, and support it play a huge role. First and foremost is the direct installation at the venues themselves, with all of the many facets of a good solution – displays of all sizes, sound processing and delivery, capture and production equipment, miles of infrastructure, control systems, lighting, and on and on. All of this is potentially more local in its direct impact, as specialist firms are brought in to handle the myriad tasks. But it is real nonetheless, providing a tangible and measurable amount of revenue to many businesses that are directly involved to the tune of billions of $US across the years of preparation for an event like the Olympics. Thus, while return on investment may be debated, the costs to put on the events do translate to revenue for pro-AV firms.
And yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the local market and the immediate venue, the event serves as content to inspire other opportunity. This comes in the form of home entertainment system upgrades in the residential market, similar upgrades to the displays in restaurants or bars for viewing the games in more social environments, broadcast system upgrades for the companies distributing content, website development for more online distribution, and more. The point here is the ripple effect these sources of innovative content have on other sectors.
Taken in total we are left with an obvious question – just how much value does any one of these events create just for the pro-AV sector alone? According to AVIXA’s IOTA report, the most directly applicable segment of the US$183 billion global industry is large venue/live event category. By itself, this accounts for $25 billion in 2017, or almost 14%. Within this a sizable portion is attributable to events like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, even though the cost for these is spread across years and projects. Regardless, it would be fair to surmise any one could bring $300 to $500 million in a given year. Beyond this, some portion of the $23.5 billion media/entertainment market, $18.5 billion residential market, and the $8.7 billion hospitality markets for pro-AV is also impacted positively by a major broadcast event. At even 1% of these combined figures, total impacts of a live event approaches $1 billion.
In the end, impact figures are largely an academic exercise to quantify the worth of something that we intuitively know has value. Here, some the value of an event is certainly tangible even if only known to those firms that were directly involved in bringing it about. However, the creative value of an exceptional experience in the form of events can never be truly known and is instead appreciated for intangibles it brings in the form of inspiration for us all.
With that, let the games begin and best of luck to all who are participating! And for those who want to read more about Live events and their place in pro-AV, please check out both the META and IOTA reports from AVIXA, or get involved with the Live Events Council.