The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted life and plunged the world into an unexpected mess. The disease began in Wuhan, China, and accelerated to other parts of the world like fire on a whirlwind. All areas of life have seen the wrath of the pandemic and sports is not an exception. The respective health guidelines and protocols have added more insult to the injury on sports.
You could not imagine how sporting events would run without fans to catalyze and lift the spirit. That electric atmosphere is surely missed but it is proving difficult in most parts of the world to reinstate the crowds while properly taming the pandemic. Although everything about the effects of Coronavirus in sport is negative, there are some positive impacts as well. This article takes you through a detailed guide on how the Coronavirus is affecting sports across the world.
1. Change in Sports Calendar
One of the first resort measures that took effect following the rampant spread of the coronavirus pandemic was the cancellation or postponement of a plethora of sporting events. Mention the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the UEFA Champions League, and the EURO Finals among others. The Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since the World War II while other leagues were forced to end prematurely. These decisions were affected because of the mammoth crowds associated with these major sporting events. However, some of these sporting activities like the UEFA Champions League resumed and were completed behind closed doors. Whether it is soccer, football, basketball, hockey, rugby, or Formula 1, it is hard to point out a single sport that wasn’t forced to alter its calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2. Rise of Online Virtual Games
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3. The Decline in Revenue Generation
Major income streams for sports include broadcasting, commercial deals, and match day revenue via tickets. Major sports however rely heavily on broadcasting income as pointed out by data from big leagues in the world. In fact, it is estimated that the global value of sport media rights is around $50 billion and that 60% of this revenue is fetched by 10 sports leagues. Sports are likened to entertainment companies in that the more the eyes on the ball the more the revenue generated. The leagues or sports clubs that have a high number of viewers take the lion share. With the Covid-19 pandemic taking away fans from the stadium, the direct impact is on the matchday revenue generation through tickets. With such conditions, there is less viewing and thus less revenue generation. If this mayhem continues for a while, some leagues will be unable to commit to broadcasters and therefore lose more avenues for revenue generation.
4. Matches in Empty Stadia
With Covid-19 health safety guidelines emphasizing on the need for social distancing, managing a large crowd became a major challenge for sports leagues. This forced respective leagues to push games to be played behind closed doors. Although some have started allowing a limited number of fans, a vast majority of leagues still play behind closed doors. Again, without fans in the stadium, the sport tends to lose the original taste and a significant number of viewers as well. This has a direct impact on the generated revenue and sports leagues will have to look for other sources of revenue if the situation doesn’t change.
5. Frustrated Athletes and Fans
Many athletes and fans around the world have been inconvenienced by the Coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation and postponement of major sporting events was a direct blow to the scores of athletes. Taking athletics as an example, athletes often earn when they take part in a race. Postponing or canceling these events frustrated them because such a platform not only gave them a platform to earn money but to showcase their talent. Also, fans love watching games live or when there is a crowd to cheer. With most games heading shifting behind closed doors, fans are starved of the excitement that comes with crowds.
Since World War II, there is arguably nothing that has affected sports more than the coronavirus pandemic. Although much of its effects have been negative, there are surely a few positives that sports can pick and use it to shape the future.