Impact of Coronavirus on Sports around the world
The Coronavirus pandemic has upended all walks of life. Social and physical distancing measures and lockdowns have disrupted almost all regular aspects of life, including sports. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to the sporting calendar since World War II. Before the pandemic hit, the global value of the sports industry was estimated to be $471bn in 2018, heading steeply on an upwards trajectory. The impact of coronavirus on sports has not just been limited to the disruption of sporting events, but also on general physical activity for the sports-enthusiast. In this article, we cover how the Coronavirus has impacted the entire global sports ecosystem – from the relation between sports and global governance, to the young and spirited athletes at the forefront of it all.
Sports and Governance
The rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics, the suspension of the NBA season, the postponement of the FIFA 2020 World Cup, and the virtualization of the Boston Marathon are just some of the major sports setbacks that made headlines. Disappointed fans and athletes aside, the coronavirus has also exposed some of the frailties of the existing economic structure in sports.
On the relationship between sports governing bodies and public authorities, the question of autonomy has always been a discussion on the table. Even the IOC champions more autonomy to sports governing bodies, albeit conservatively. However, 2020 pushed governments to take center stage, and sporting events were one of the first to get cancelled in the wake of the pandemic, giving public authorities more supervising powers over the economics of sports.
For example, La Liga had to agree to distribute part of their commercial income to other smaller sports, in order to obtain a favorable view from the government so that they could resume football competitions. In this case, while the impact of cancelling sporting events was economically significant for 2020, the safeguard of encouraging other sports also serves as a beacon of hope for the entire sports entertainment ecosystem to not just recover, but spring back stronger, once the pandemic ends. The relatively quick development and deployment of vaccines is a welcome sign for 2021.
Addressing the existing business model of sports
The main source of revenue for sports leagues are broadcasting, commercial sponsorships, advertising partnerships, and match day revenue (ticketing and hospitality). Professional sports leagues are analogous to entertainment companies. Even the corporate structures of entertainment companies and sports leagues are similar. As a matter of fact, The Sports School’s BBA in Sports Management is structured for gaining a successful career in the vast sports industry.
When Covid overturned the sporting calendar, it was widely anticipated that sports organizing bodies would suffer a great fall, and the existing structure would be rebuilt. To a large extent, the fact remains true, especially for smaller bodies who are struggling to receive funding. With stakeholders diversifying the portfolios, sports organizing bodies have had to rely on national interests to keep the games going.
On a brighter note, there is much scope for reorganization across the globe. As of today, just 10 sports leagues account for 60% of the global value of sports media rights. With viewership increasingly going digital, forced virtualization has allowed sports organizers to explore more diverse income streams. There have been advances with immersive viewing to allow fans to enjoy the games live.
Health impact for Athletes
It is well known that moderate exercising boosts immune response. However, several studies have shown that physically intensive activities have been linked with an ‘open-window’ of impaired immunity up to 72 h after the exercise. As a result, reducing the risk of transmission is important. With the unavailability of access to equipment and arenas for practice, many amateur and young athletes have been affected adversely. International organizations have published a return-to-play, return-to-training, and return-to-competition guidelines. To a large extent, bio-bubbles have served effectively on this aspect.
Impact in India
For the last decade, India has focused on strengthening its sports industry. While cricket remains dominant, the resurgence of football, badminton, and kabaddi leagues opened many opportunities. In February 2016, the government paved the path for direct investment opportunities from the private sector, and led to the opening of innumerable sports coaching academies across the country. The pandemic has adversely affected even legacy organizations, with many sports coaches and support staff facing a grim outlook. Jwala Gutta’s badminton academy, which was launched in November 2020, serves as an inspiration and motivation for the new year.
In many ways, sports is an impeccable metaphor for the vicissitudes of life for its tendency to hang on to hope even in times of despair. Its ability to bring people together is missed more than ever. With the right strategies, sports can emerge stronger than ever.
The Sports School, Bangalore, has been closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our staff and students. We have planned for contingency scenarios by taking decisive and informed actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus while ensuring the continuity of our teaching and research mission. Keeping in mind that learning should never stop, we have started online smart classes for both academics and sports coaching, with the hope that your kid can make the best out of this time.
The Sports School is committed to the safety of our students and staff without hindering our core focus of integrating sports and education. Our vast 25 acres infrastructure is on the outskirts of the city; hence there is limited to no interaction between the campus and the residential areas. Know More