Experts fear huge revenue loss in sports due to Covid19

Several sporting events are either postponed or cancelled due to corona pandemic


MUMBAI: Be it domestic or international sports, the segment has been hit hard by the pandemic caused by the corona outbreak. Though experts predict a heavy revenue loss, it is difficult to predict and understand the extent of damage at this stage.

With the World Health Organisation urging each nation to take this virus seriously, countries across the globe, as a very first step, have cancelled all those events, including sporting tournaments to stop the spread of the virus. As on March 20, 10,048 people across the world have succumbed to the virus infection.

From minister to common man and sportsperson to coach, over 1.8 lakh cases have been detected positive across the globe. “Despite the pandemic, the mortality rate due to this virus is quite low; it’s 3.2 per cent as per WHO. People are scared the way it’s being spread and they have been over-cautious. Brands exist only if the people running the brand exist," says brand expert N Chandramouli.

Since early last week, a majority of international sporting events are either being cancelled, postponed or changed to the shorter format. The latest tournament that was deferred by a year is UEFA’s Euro Cup 2020. The once-in-four-year soccer event was scheduled to happen from 12 June 2020. Now, all eyes are on another marquee event this year, Olympics 2020, scheduled between 24 July – 9 August.

According to Forbes, “The NBA became the first major US sports league to suspend games ‘until further notice’. A loss of over $500 million is expected as it was on the verge of completion before getting suspended. The loss expected in only one-fifth of the total game.”

Similarly, the World Economic Forum is of the view: “Postponed or cancelled events could lead to a decline in revenues for the event organisers as well as for media that broadcast them. Cable television companies are partly dependent upon advertising, meaning that any decline in revenue will impact profitability.”

An industry source, who didn’t want to be named during this testing time, says: “Not just sports, every other sector has been massively hit by this pandemic. The world economy along with India is seeing new lows every other day. Next one-two weeks are important and at this moment we are unable to make any comment on the revenue loss, be it sports, media and entertainment or any other sector.”

On the back of IPL and major cricketing tournaments, Indian sporting sponsorship industry saw a rise of 17 per cent to Rs 9000 crore in 2019, a report released by GroupM’s ESP Properties said. There is a sense that the growth story of Indian sports sponsorship this year may see a drastic fall, experts say.

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