Coronavirus or COVID-19 as the officials say, has affected almost everything all around the world. Since its onset, the virus has spread to almost all countries affecting millions of people and their daily lives including the economy. It has also disrupted regular aspects of life, including sport and physical activity.
To safeguard the health of athletes and people involved in sports, most of the major sporting events at every level have been canceled or postponed. For the first time in the history of the modern games, the Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed and will be held in 2021.
The impact of Coronavirus on sporting events:
The global value of the sports industry was estimated to be $471 billion in 2018 and before coronavirus stopped play, the only trajectory seemed to be upwards. Now, every part of the sport has been affected, from athletes, teams, and leagues, to the media that broadcast and cover games. As a result of this, many jobs are at risk and many clubs are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Athletes are forced to stay indoors and work from home to stay fit, and they risk losing professional sponsors who may not support them as initially agreed. Anything longer than a temporary hold would see the leagues unable to meet their commitments to broadcasters, limiting their ability to distribute income back to the clubs. The impact would be dramatic: no games mean no TV deals and no matchday income; no income means no clubs.
The 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021 on March 24 becoming one of the last major sporting events this summer to fall victim to the coronavirus. The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.
Strategies the industry is adopting as a result of the halt:
The broadcasting network has found a loophole in the disruption. To prevent themselves from going bankrupt, broadcasters such as ESPN and Fox Sports are showing classic games, archived contents, documentaries to keep viewers watching.
FIFA has also decided to release all operational funding as a step of a relief plan to assist the football community impacted by the pandemic. This measure will mean that a total of around USD 150 million will be distributed among the 211 national football governing bodies around the world.
The sports governing bodies are exploring alternatives for their respective leagues/competition. The suggestions put forward are: to end the season early and crown the leader at that point as champions; halt the campaign without any team winning the title.
The Scottish League confirmed Celtic as their champions and said the league was left with “no realistic option but to call the season”.
The abandonment of leagues has led to clubs filing for legal cases. For instance, Amiens a Ligue 1 club have started legal proceedings for their “unjust” relegation following the early ending of their season.
Sporting events that are to return soon:
The German Bundesliga is given the green light for a restart from May 15 with no fans inside stadiums. To comply with social distancing, the players have to remain at least 1.5 to two meters apart at all times and have been asked to get changed at home before and after training.
The Spanish La Liga is also set to return somewhere around June. Italian clubs have been given permission to start training individually.
The NBA suspended their league on March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The board members are to decide in two to four weeks whether to resume or cancel the NBA season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had disruptive effects on the sporting events and has adversely affected all the individuals, organizations, clubs relating to sports. Not to mention, the fans and avid sports lovers who are now isolated in their houses and have nothing to watch. We cannot do anything but wait patiently and pray that the pandemic resolves soon and all the sporting events resumes to normal.