The spread of the coronavirus across the world has taken its toll on many business and many industries – event organisers behind some of the biggest sporting events of the year were amongst those hit hard as some of the biggest events of the year such as the Olympic games were postponed until 2021, and others weren’t so lucky to just experience a postponement as other events such as Wimbledon were unfortunately cancelled completely.
Lockdown restrictions within the UK have been extended for the time being but we’re beginning to see some easing across certain parts of Europe – the US President also announced that he would be easing some restrictions in an effort to get some sporting events underway again too but without fans in attendance. Whilst things are very much possible to change at any moment, however, there are still some events that are set to go ahead as planned – initially many of these will be without any fans in attendance but as time moves forward this will change.
Ryder Cup & The Masters – We’ve already seen some golfing events cancelled or postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus and others placed at risk as maintaining the courses many were set to be played on had become something of an uncertainty, but as it stands two of the bigger golfing events of the year in the US are scheduled to go ahead as expected in September and November.
F1 British Grand Prix – Just as the F1 racing season had gotten underway and many fans were excited to see the changes each team had made following the regulation adjustments by the FIA, things were cancelled. 19th July will be marked in the calendar for racing fans however, as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is still set to go ahead as scheduled and perhaps the first real look at how some of these updated rules will impact the grid.
Tour De France – Originally slated to get underway in June, the delay until August had been confirmed a number of weeks ago. We’re still a number of months out, but the event is looking good to get underway in August as the impacts of the coronavirus in Europe are starting to ease in certain areas. There will still be uncertainty around fan attendance following the current global crisis and many may be turned off from attending, but the athletes will be raring to go.
London Marathon – The UK is still having a bit of a tough time as numbers still haven’t reached their peak – the lockdown put in place is still set to extend through until the start of May in which other sports such as the Premier League for football are set to get underway again, but as it stands the marathon set to take place in October is set to go ahead.
UK Premier League – As mentioned above, football are still on tentative ground as the Premier League is set to get started again in May – there are no definitive dates set forward just yet as caution is still being exercised, and the likelihood is that once games do get underway again it will be with empty stadiums, but fans will be eager for games to get underway again.
French Open – Following the cancellation of Wimbledon, the French Open was definitely one that had been put at risk as it was postponed until September. Fortunately, the event takes place on clay and as such the factors that led to the cancellation of Wimbledon such as the maintenance of the court and the waning daylight hours are less of a concern.
(Chris Unger, Getty Images)
UFC 249 – MMA fans have had a really rough go of things the past few weeks as much anticipated fights have been on and off, moved around and then cancelled, replacements put in but then events cancelled once more, talks of a fight island and again, more cancellations. But as of writing this, a tentative date has been put forward for May 9th, and following the news that US sporting events may be underway sooner rather than later, this date looks like it may in fact stick.
The list of anticipated events set to go ahead before the end of the year is quite a long one still as organisers try to squeeze as much in as possible to round the losses made for the first few months – and this will come as great news to many who rely on these events to get by.
It isn’t just the event organisers and management that are suffering as a result of cancellations, but other industries too – associated with sports events comes the travel infrastructure, catering, beverages, hotel and accommodation and betting sectors – the latter of which has taken a big hit, with some operators shifting their main product which is sports betting to other types of betting as virtual games and eSports as a result of the lack of sporting action. One thing remains certain, when normality resumes and these major events are rescheduled, these operators will see their regular sports punters return – especially if the lockdown ending coincides with the start of the NFL season, given the amount of interest this always attracts.
In addition to the sportsbook industry, the hospitality sector has taken quite a big hit as restaurants and hotels have been forced to close and there are many that had fears they wouldn’t be able to reopen following things returning to normal. Especially in the US, where events could often be a 6-7 hour internal flight away from one’s home, this sector played a prominent role in sporting event management. A good number were offering changes to bookings, as cancellation and refund requests threatened to cause further damage, but the news that some events may be scheduled to get underway again, the news of lockdown restrictions lifting in certain places, and these later events set to go on, may be the breath of new life needed to help these businesses recover
The next step for many will be looking forward toward the end of the year and heading into the new year – as events get underway again and future events are planned, the outbreak epidemic experienced this year will certainly be something that many focus on. We may be moving toward a time where social distancing is not only practiced, but more expected – along with this will be those that may be a little on edge to travel, but it’ll take a little time to discover the overall impact it has had. One issue we may see is that the spread has been quite staggered and as such some borders and some countries are set to remain on lockdown for longer periods of time restricting travel for certain events and will be something that will need to be planned toward.