Alt: COVID-19 and sport
Title: COVID-19 and sport
The coronavirus has affected every aspect of people’s lives around the world. It has affected the economy, culture, politics, tourism, entertainment, and, of course, sports. Read about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the sports industry in this article.
Sports clubs, leagues, and associations record a serious decline in revenues. Due to the cancellation of most sporting events during the pandemic, the sports industry did not receive income from ticket sales, sales of broadcasting rights to matches, and commercial activities.
For example, the UFC lost more than $100 million in profits because of the pandemic. And because of the cancellation of Wimbledon, the Tennis Association lost about $243 million.
All of this has affected athletes, who are out of work and have had to accept pay cuts. According to Emsi, the pandemic in the United States has affected 1.3 million people who work in the sports industry.
Cancellation and postponement of events
Already at the end of February 2020, athletes began to massively refuse to travel to tournaments, and the organizers of the competition stopped letting spectators into the stadiums. Biathlon and FIS Cross-Country World Cup events were among the first to suffer.
But the most sensational event in the world of sports was the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to 2021. Note that the postponement of the games was the first in the 124-year history of the event in its modern form. The Olympics were completely canceled in 1916, as well as in 1940 and 1944 in connection with the First and Second World Wars.
Switching to online mode
The widespread lockdown and quarantine measures have accelerated the digitalization of the sports industry and spurred organizers to implement projects that are based on online technologies. For example, various sports mobile apps have been developed.
But some have gone even further. For example, in early April, the world-famous Grand National steeplechase, which has been held annually in England since 1839, was held online in 2020. The organizers determined their results using sophisticated computer calculations, and then modeled the races with the help of digital technology, taking into account all the nuances of real competition. The broadcast was watched by 4.8 million people.
Also, eSports tournaments have become popular (you can bet on them in one of the bookmakers, reviews of which you can find on Meta.reviews). The popular television channel NBC, through video games, recreated and broadcast basketball and hockey games that were canceled.
During the crisis, support from national governments and international sports organizations proved to be especially important for sports.
For example, in May, Canadian authorities established the Covid-19 Emergency Support Fund for Culture, Property and Sport Organizations. The organization’s budget was $370 million. At the same time, $53 million were allocated directly to support the sports sector.
At the same time, the English Premier League has sent $157 million in financial aid to clubs that play in the country’s lower divisions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the teams’ economies.
Recovering the industry
Now the sports industry is beginning to recover. Many tournaments and championships are held, but without spectators or with partially filled stands. Also, athletes are forced to constantly take coronavirus tests. The changes have affected competition calendars, sports economics, and tournament formats.
The damage caused by the coronavirus to sports can be fully assessed only after the pandemic is over. However, experts already state that the COVID-19 pandemic has had the greatest impact on sports since World War II.