Three focuses of my blog are Athletics/Sports, Business/Entrepreneurship and Current Events. The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Crisis/Pandemic has exerted a lot of changes on our world. One aspect which has been particularly affected is the sporting world, and it’s yet to be determined if it will recover. The following contributed post is entitled, How Has Covid Changed The Sporting World.
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COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented hit on the world. Some businesses have been forced to close their doors while entire countries have been impacted by deep recessions. Everyone is struggling with how to keep things as normal as possible and the reality is that this may no longer be an option. Instead, we might be forced to adapt to a new normal and whatever that entails. This is certainly true for the sporting industry which has been dealt with massive blows due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s worth exploring the impact the virus has had on the sporting world and the potential solutions of tomorrow.
Keeping Things Safe
The first challenge faced by the sporting world is continuing to operate while keeping everyone safe. By everyone, this includes the players and the spectators or viewers. So, let’s start with the viewers. Currently, the primary mindset is that there shouldn’t be any spectators. Instead, sporting events are using and relying on virtual crowds to provide the cheers and energy of a typical game or match. Spectators are not permitted to be in the stadiums or arenas and this does make a lot of sense. After all, it’s difficult to maintain social distancing measures in an arena filled with thousands of people.
This puts the players in danger too. Speaking of the players, certain leagues have taken drastic measures to protect the wellbeing of their teams while allowing them to continue to play. This has been necessary in the case of contact sports like basketball. Indeed, the NBA is currently operating in a bubble and using an arena to play matches in Disney World Orlando. This might seem odd however it’s working quite well. Players stay at the Disney hotel, get shuttles over to matches, and keep separate from everyone else. Disney even manages to generate a solid revenue which the company desperately needs as they fight their own COVID-19 battle in the trenches.
There is also controversy as some leagues including the NBA have managed to gain access to fast testing kits before other communities. The official response to this was that the NBA is a business and therefore can pay the premium to gain tests for its employees. It’s easy to forget this but at its center, the sports world is a business machine or rather multiple business machines. So, perhaps it’s worth exploring how COVID-19 has impacted revenue.
The sports industry is estimated to be worth more than $471bn. This number has been climbing steadily for a number of years. It’s worth noting that there are numerous sections of the industry including broadcasting, sponsorships, and advertising as well as match day revenue. It’s also worth noting that every aspect of this industry, every piece of the puzzle has been hit by COVID-19.
So one of the biggest issues right now is the lack of live entertainment. While there are exceptions, and we’ve already mentioned a couple of these, in most cases live games are simply not happening. So sports businesses have to find new ways to engage and interact with their players. Take bets as an example. Businesses have run virtual events for pundits to bet on instead of actual games. This happened with horse riding in the UK. The good news is that you can now take bets on things like Browns Super Bowl 2021 odds, but things aren’t fully back to normal just yet. There’s still a long way to go.
Some sports broadcasters are currently focusing on showing classic games. This might be enough for some people to continue to pay a subscription but others won’t be convinced that it’s worth their time or their money. However, certain businesses have seen success here. The NFL ensures that every game since 2009 was available for streaming and increased daily signups for their service by 500.
Other broadcasters have been searching for other events to broadcast. This has led to an increased focus on e-sports. It’s a lot easier to run and stream e-sports events remotely and maintain social distancing measures between players. As such, it has been the obvious choice of replacement but it’s nowhere near as popular as typical sports events.
Delays And Cancellations
Certain sports events have been canceled or postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The action taken seems to differ depending on the country, the type of sport, and the people in charge. For instance, there are some questions surrounding whether the NFL season will be postponed to a later date but there is no confirmation as to whether this will happen right now.
The Olympics has been shifted back an entire year which was the only plausible option. There was no way to run an event like that during a massive international pandemic. For several weeks, it looked as though those in charge would press forward with the plans but this quickly changed as the pandemic grew worse.
National lockdowns have led to the postponement of various sporting events. The premier league in the UK was stopped for numerous weeks before starting up again so that a champion could be named. In other countries like Africa, semi-finals of the African Champion League were postponed indefinitely. The Belgian cup final has also been put on hold and the CONCACAF finals have moved to a later date as well.
Why Is The Sports Industry Crucial?
If you have no interest in sports, then you might be wondering why it’s so important that the sports industry bounces back from this. The reality is that we have already provided the answer to this question. The sports industry has tremendous value and covers a large chunk of the economy. If it goes down, it will have a ripple effect. People will lose jobs, companies will close and the entire entertainment sector will have to shift. Luckily, there is virtually no chance that this is going to happen. While the sporting world has taken a nasty hit, it will bounce back. It will recover.
When Will Things Return To Normal?
Obviously, a key question that people want to be answered is when are things going to return to normal. When are we going to be able to enjoy sports the way we used to. Unfortunately, the answers are cloudy at best. While we can hope that things are back to normal by 2021, this is unlikely to be the case. Many businesses are preparing for a long haul in terms of the coronavirus with some experts predicting that it could remain a major issue for several years. This will all but certainly be the case if no vaccine is found. Don’t forget, when a vaccine has been found it will still be nearly a full year before it has been administered to the general public. So, we are still quite a way off of a miracle cure.
It seems then that instead of preparing for things to return to normal sports companies and businesses are going to have to learn how to adapt in a variety of different ways. Ultimately, this is going to be the deciding factor that determines whether the sports industry continues to survive in its current form.
Will We Watch Sports Again The Way We Used To?
With a high level of uncertainty floating around when things will return to normal, there’s another question to answer. Will things ever go back to the way they were? Thankfully, the answer is likely to be yes. There’s a lot of fear currently surrounding how the general public is going to react. For instance, cinema owners are concerned that the longer things remain closed, the more accustomed customers will become to simply watching the new movies at home. While the days of the cinema might now be numbered, it’s worth remembering that cinema was already on its way out. Ticket prices were too high and people were finding it easier than ever to get the same type of content at home thanks to resources like Netlfix. However, sports are a whole other type of beast. Sporting events provide a group think that is virtually euphoric when you’re part of a crowd. It’s irresistible and for many completely addictive. That’s why there’s no doubt that once it is safe, people will return to the stadiums to watch their favorite teams play.
For the time being, sports fans will have to settle for enjoying watching games and events in a virtual world. When stadiums do reopen to the public, it will only be a smaller crowd that’s allowed in. There are going to be even more safety measures in place too. However, fans are going to adapt to these changes, and more than that they’ll embrace them. Yes, these changes are likely to be with us for a number of years but it’s nothing new. It’s just like when metal detectors were introduced and bag checks came into force. This is just a different type of threat and the sports industry needs to adapt.
We hope this helps you understand the key ways that COVID has changed the sporting world and why this is so important.