The gradual resumption of sports competitions gives fans hope for an exciting from a sporting point of view, post-pandemic period. However, it is already clear that the” innovations ” caused by the the COVID-19 impact sports for many years to come. What will athletes and fans have to get used to? These and other topics we will discuss in this article.
How has the pandemic already affected sports?
Let’s look at the example of basketball and Formula-1 racing.
The NBA became the first professional sports league in the United States to suspend its season indefinitely. At the time the season was suspended on March 11, 2020, there were still 259 games left in the 2019/20 NBA regular season. The total league gate revenue lost as a result of these cancellations was estimated to be between $ 350 million and $ 450 million. The next day, the NCAA, the organization responsible for college sports, followed the NBA’s lead by canceling all remaining winter and spring championships, including the hugely popular March Madness men’s basketball tournament. The television and marketing rights to this tournament alone amount to a total of $ 867.5 million. All of them were thrown into chaos by the news of the tournament’s first cancellation after its inaugural season in 1939. And also about the financial hit that every college has to compete for. Due to the postponement of this event, the city will lose more than $ 100 million in areas such as ticket sales, advertising, and sponsorship.
Moving to the race track, the Formula 1 calendar has also been hit by the pandemic. On March 12, Formula 1 canceled the Australian Grand Prix, and the upcoming races in Bahrain and Vietnam were postponed to the next day. The potential loss of revenue from combined hosting fees for the entire season, which is paid by individual host countries, could amount to more than $ 602 million. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the F1 season, it is not surprising that the Formula 1 Group lost 45 percent of its market value on the stock market, amounting to a loss of approximately five billion US dollars.
The pandemic is not yet over, and COVID-19 impact sports will continue. So let’s see what changes we will have to get used to in the nearest future.
Almost all major sporting events in the coming years will be held either in empty stands or stands with a very modest number of fans. Because of this, those sports where the audience was the “12 player” suffer: watching football in silence may seem a little creepy. However, we will now be able to hear the commands of the coaches and players — and avoid scandals, as well as mass fights before and after matches.
Reducing the number of fouls
Doctors who prepared recommendations for team sports players hardly expected that in addition to the obvious reduction in the risk of infection, the number of fouls would also decrease.
According to German specialists who serve Bundesliga matches, fouls after the continuation of the season were 46% less than they were during the same period before its suspension. Players approach the recommendations responsibly — and not only stopped hugging after scoring goals but also less actively make tackles and try not to play “body to body”.
Experiments with broadcast formats
In addition to the obvious improvement in their quality, many leagues and championships can try to offer viewers paid options that will help support teams in difficult financial situations. For example, the NFL already in 2019 received only 15-16% of revenue from ticket sales, and the rest of the money came from paid broadcasts.
Modern infographics, slow-motion replays, the option to “scroll” the best moments and display player statistics on the screens — this is what specialists should do to keep the viewer at the TV screens and gadgets, as well as earn money. In the vanguard — “Formula 1”: soon, the audience is promised access to 360-degree cameras directly in the drivers ‘ cars.
Increasing the TV audience
Unable to find the opportunity to visit the stadiums, sports fans reached for the TV screens.
Many foreign have fared pretty well during the pandemic – the Sky Sports channel network has increased its audience by 21% thanks to broadcasts of Premier League matches.
Football and Covid-19
Football is a prime example of how the sports sector is changing under the influence of Covid-19.
The restart of the European season is largely due to the head of the German Football League, Christian Seifert. After all, for a long time, it was believed that it was impossible to hold matches without allowing the spread of the coronavirus. Seifert also convened a commission of virologists, which developed regulations covering all aspects of the life of football players. They are instructed to minimize contact with the outside world, not to eat or take a shower at the base, but to go home immediately after training, press the elevator buttons with their elbows, distance themselves from their loved ones in the presence of suspicious symptoms, and so on. At the stadium, handshakes, team photos, and other ceremonial events were canceled, and press conferences were transferred to an online format.
As for the other sports, the COVID-19 impact sports can be even more sensitive: where there was initially little money, there will be no money left at all. According to the sports experts, the pandemic will cause a restructuring of the system of professional sports: its low-budget sports will partially descend to the amateur level, and high-budget will go online like other sectors of the economy. The best online sports betting is already attracting more and more money and the public. The pandemic may be a turning point, after which the gaming industry will overcome the sports industry in the fight for the hearts and wallets of millions.