2020 will forever be remembered as the year Covid-19 shut down the sports world. But Covid-19 continues to have a huge impact on the world of sports. Whether it’s soccer, athletics or any other type of sport, we are seeing many events and tournaments being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only is this an issue for competitors, but organisations and fans are getting caught up in the web of the sports industry.
Think about the athletes and employees who are affected, their lives depend on their wage for the sport they love. They’ll be struggling to meet rent, food and necessities. These players may have to surrender their sports dreams and have to pursue other opportunities to make ends meet.
In this article, we will look into the different ways in which sports have been affected. From the big businesses to the athlete, to the smaller clubs who are creating inventive ideas to prevent losses from the pandemic.
Fans and Stadiums
One of the areas that may be forgotten about during Covid-19 is the stadiums. Sports arenas and stadiums have a large impact on local governments, with thousands of part-time staff with no work. Just picture a regular sports event, you have concession stands, turnstile staff, parking area employees and cleaning teams. These people are all now without work and many will have no benefits.
In an average stadium of 20,000 seats, you could see over 300 workers on site. Then picture the amount of food supplied on game day, all those suppliers will be at a loss. There is a domino effect with the closure of stadiums, impacting many different sectors and businesses.
Most sports now are incorporating a new ‘virtual crowd’ to try and make the viewers at home feel like they’re part of the event. However, it is nothing compared to the real atmosphere. Many people live for these sports events and can be suffering without their sporting release.
Stadiums and Energy Usage
During game-day, arenas and stadiums use an enormous amount of energy to keep up with the demands of sports. For just one sports example, here is a list of ways football stadiums use energy:
- Giant TV Screens
- Electronic Advertising Boards
- Changing Room Lighting/Water Usage
- Audio Systems
- Broadcasting Equipment
- Retractable Roof
- Under-floor Heating
Brand new stadiums can on average use 750 megawatts over the course of an event, costing over £22,000 per hour. Clubs and sports teams will still have to pay for all these energy systems during the season, all without match day income which many clubs survive off. How will sports teams be able to fund all of these outputs, without fans and matchday sales?
A New Form of Revenue That May Help Sports Clubs and Venues?
With sports arenas and stadiums likely to be seeing a lot less traffic, there may be a solution to helping clubs with a new form of revenue. EV (electric vehicle) charging is a new way for companies to generate revenue with ease.
Supplying customers and employees with clean charging for their vehicles, EV stations could be a great solution for many sports teams.
With the UK Government looking at banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2035, we will see a huge rise in EV’s in the near future. Not only are you creating a new source of income, but you can boost your green credentials too, along with improved footfall once stadiums are back open.
Change in the Sports Calendar
Another way that Covid-19 has affected sports is the sports calendar. At the beginning of the worldwide pandemic, many events were cancelled or rearranged. The biggest examples being the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the UEFA Champions League.
For the first time since World War II, major tennis event Wimbledon was cancelled. Many sports were performed behind closed doors to try and finish the end of the season or tournament.
|World Athletics Indoor Championships||Athletics||X|
|The Madrid Open||Tennis||X|
|2021 Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grands Prix||Formula||X|
|Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games||Athletics||X|
|2021 Uefa Regions’ Cup||Football||X|
|2020 Women’s Tour of Scotland||Cycling||X|
|2020 Wimbledon Championships||Tennis||X|
Covid-19 has been a horrendous time for event organisers, having to replan and think about every single detail of the spreading of the virus.
Some organisations have come under fire for not acting quickly enough. Balancing the risk of players and staff’s health and well-being with the profits and revenues for football clubs is a fine line. With increasing Covid-19 cases in sports worldwide, even with sports bubbles, it is becoming an issue for many associations whether to suspend proceedings or to continue.
In the example of football, there have been discrepancies in different league systems with different rules. For example, Premier League and Football League clubs are continuing to proceed with the competition, however, smaller semi-professional clubs have cancelled their season. Many of these semi-professional players rely on their small income to provide for their families, others use it as a way to combat mental health and is a way to release their energy on a weekend.
Sports Teams and Money During Covid-19
Sport is one of the biggest income streams in the world, valued at approximately 471 billion dollars. These income streams include broadcasting, match day revenue and commercial deals. The big 10 sports leagues are responsible for 60% of the world’s value of sport media rights.
Back in 2020, Sky and the SPFL made an overcompensation agreement, with £1.5m being paid back to the broadcaster over five years. Can clubs afford this repayment? There are predictions of many sporting teams falling into administration with running costs and staff costs not being matched by the revenue needed to survive.
With empty stadiums, Covid-19 is responsible for a huge decrease in matchday revenue for sports events. If we see this rate continue, we may see some major leagues lose contracts with broadcasters and therefore sports may crumble before our eyes.
With a focus on sports teams, many teams have come up with unique ways to combat the revenue loss from Covid-19. Some sports teams are tasing much-needed cash by offering packages and events, such as stadium tours they can attend once the pandemic is over. Others are getting creative, offering tickets with a free drink once stadiums back open.
Sports sponsors are another area that may change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Can sponsors continue to afford advertising for sports teams and is there a risk to continue support? With many sports events being cancelled, paying for sports sponsorship in this current climate is a gamble many companies are unwilling to make.
Effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on sports industry revenue worldwide in 2020:
Covid-19 and the Affect On Players
In recent news, we have seen 72 tennis players at the Australian Open on a 14-day hotel room lockdown due to a positive Covid-19 test during a flight on its way to the tournament.
Consider athletes due to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 4 years of incredible sacrifice and commitment to a craft, to be taken away for a rearranged event. Many have tailored their training to be at an optimal level for 2020. They will now have to replan and reschedule their regime for 2021, possibly causing an increase in injuries or plateauing form. Some athletes may have seen 2020 as their last shot at glory, another year of training could see a huge drop in performance.
There are many obstacles that athletes have to face during Covid-19:
- Travel to Sports Venues
- Lack of Gym Equipment
- No Physio Treatment
- Mental Health
- Career Path
Injuries are on the rise too. Many sports are cramming in as many events as possible to finish seasons or tournaments to reach broadcasting targets. This influx of more game time will eliminate the amount of rest-time players need to recover in-between events, thus increasing the likelihood of injuries. In the English Premier League, there has been a 23% increase in injuries from the same time last year, with 33 muscle injuries in total over the first 9 match-days.
There has been a shortened pre-season window for many sports, decreasing the chances of gaining optimal performance and injury prevention. The usual 12-week pre-season for UK football teams was shorted to a 7-week timescale this year.
Many sports teams have also had to cope without star players who have tested positive for Covid-19. Most recently we saw Aston Villa having to field a team of Academy talent against a strong Liverpool team.
During these uncertain times, sport is being missed. Empty stadiums are a sad sight and the ability of sport bringing people together is something we could use. But for now, we have to stay strong and brace ourselves for this new sporting environment.