Only 53 per cent of the sports events originally scheduled for 2020 are likely to take place this calendar year according to projections by UK agency Two Circles.

Originally, 49,803 major sports events were scheduled for 2020, however global social-distancing measures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a large proportion of sports events being postponed or cancelled.

In March only 1,870 or one-third of the originally scheduled 5,584 events took place.

As of today, April 20th, Two Circles models – which update daily based on changes in the rate of infections and confirmed scheduling alterations – show that 26,424 events are due to be held by calendar-end. This is 53% per cent of the events anticipated pre-COVID-19.

Two Circles estimates that the global sports industry will generate $73.7 BN in revenue in 2020, a massive $61.6 BN less than the $135.3 BN projected before the COVID-19 outbreak.

In 2019, the global sports industry generated $129 BN in revenue and it had been anticipated the industry would grow by 4.9 per cent year-on-year before COVID-19 struck.

“Sports properties are keen to return as soon as possible as the longer the sports calendar is on hiatus, the worse the financial impact will be,” said Gareth Balch, Two Circles CEO.

“However, sports should – and will – only return when it is deemed safe to do so, and with the support of all relevant government and medical authorities.”

“Even hosting sports without crowds poses a complex challenge.”

Properties such as German football’s Bundesliga plan to recommence from May, albeit with only 240 people – including players, coaching and medical staff, match officials and production staff – involved per game.

Sports in countries where COVID-19 infections appear to have peaked, such as South Korea and New Zealand, are also eyeing behind-closed-doors returns.

As most leagues will have to adjust both their current and future fixture schedule, pushing events back or reducing the number of events as a result, according to Two Circles’ modelling a staggered return of live sports in 2020 will see a spike of events in September (5,467).

“Compared to most other industries, in recent times of economic adversity sports has proven to be recession-resilient. Whilst live sports is halted, every corner of the sports industry will continue to feel this significant financial pain, but we are certain that it returns, whether that’s behind-closed-doors or with full houses, sports’ economy will thrive once again,” added Balch.

 
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Image Credit: Two Circles