How Supply Chain Issues Are Impacting the Sports Industry

Global supply chain issues are impacting nearly every sector of the American economy — even sports. From athletic equipment to concession stand foods, sports teams and their venues are hyperaware of potential supply chain interruptions and the potential ripple effect. It’s something venues are working to alleviate as eager fans crowd back into stadiums after a pandemic-fueled hiatus.

Tod Caflisch, Sports Technology Services Consultant with TechFoundry, said disruptions in the supply chain are impacting technology integration in sports venues. “A lot of teams and venues put off refreshes and installation of new technology thanks to the pandemic,” Caflisch said. “And now equipment is harder to get.”

The slowdown in manufacturing high-end semiconductors (also known as “semis” or “chips”) has also contributed to these issues. In fact, lead times have increased to eight weeks longer than normal, according to Forbes. However, manufacturers have started shifting investments to reduce the risk to the supply chain.

Some network technology is now taking a year or more, from initial order to receipt. “Things like that have to be taken into account,” Caflisch said. “Now, projects can be either delayed, budgets can be impacted as pricing can change between the time you order and receive the product or even going with different vendors in order to maintain timelines or budget.”

These pains are being felt in venues across the U.S., including in Spokane, Washington. Citizens learned May 24 that some features of a new $35 million, 5,000-seat stadium might be scaled back or delayed due to inflation and supply chain issues, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Supply chain complications have shifted the direction in which teams, venues, and consultants have moved, Caflisch said. “Not only are we looking at solutions, timelines to meet deadlines, but also how those are impacted by the supply chain as well and the availability of parts and pieces.”

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