The future of sport as we know it hinges on getting fans back into stadia. This is especially true in Ireland where the IRFU, FAI and GAA rely to a very high level on the income generated by matchday ticketing and revenue.
Each week we will take a look at developments around the world on where sporting organisations, public health authorities and governments are moving in the return to stadia.
RETURN TO SPORT CONFERENCE HAILED A SUCCESS
On Thursday, April 29th Sport for Business hosted a very timely morning conference on where we are with regard to the return of sport and the return of fans to our sporting stadia.
We brought together sporting bodies and stadium operators, sponsors and agencies to learn from those who are on the sharp edge of reopening society and sport after the pandemic lockdowns.
Over 300 guests attended the virtual morning event and here is a short video of some highlights from the morning.
We will follow up with a number of specific videos from the different sessions over the coming days.
Here is the first of the sessions to share with Kevin Quinn of Leinster Rugby guiding us through the process of collaboration and innovation that has led to a pilot test event proposal.
It is not over the line yet but it is based on solid evidence and in line with the 20 recommendations made to government on the subject of antigen tests.
KENTUCKY DERBY SETS US COVID RECORD
51,838 fans attended Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday night, the biggest sporting gathering in the United States since the onset of Covid-19.
That is about one-third of the number of fans that would normally gather for what is a major social as well as a sporting event in the State.
It is nevertheless a major step in the right direction for the reopening of sporting venues.
The Racecourse hosted a public vaccination clinic over three days in March where around 2,500 doses were administered.
FRENCH OPEN TO RISE FROM 35,000 to 65,000
The French Open Tennis Championship has been pushed back a week but will have 5,000 fans seated at Roland Garros for the Finals in June.
French authorities have extended the audience on the three show courts from 1,000 in the early rounds to as many as 5,000 from the quarter-finals onward.
A total of 35,000 fans will be allowed into the grounds during the initial phase of the tournament that gets underway on May 30th and runs for two weeks.
That number will almost double as the business end of the tournament comes into view.
INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE IS SUSPENDED
The terrible scenes in India as Covid-19 rips through the country have finally registered with the Indian Premier League which has overnight suspended the competition at the halfway stage.
“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their loved ones and their families,” said a statement from tournament organisers.
Irish born Eoin Morgan is one of the players involved.
The teams had been existing in ‘bubbles’ but yesterday the Hyderabad franchise became the third to report a positive case, among the more that 300,000 reported across the country, and it was clear that to continue would not be possible.
The IPL is a major financial winner for the sport but given the tight time frame of international competition it is unclear at this point how the remaining games could be played.
Sport for Business Partners