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Effect of COVID-19 on major sporting events 2020

We may have just seen the first half of 2020, but the year has already seen an unprecedented shutdown of the entire world. Also, the world of sports and sports has not remained unaffected by all this. The last such cataclysmic lockdown of all the key sporting events across the world was during 1940-1945 whilst even the Olympics were cancelled because of World War 2.

Major Sporting leagues throughout the globe such as EPL, La Liga, NBA and numerous bilateral cricket tournaments have already been either postponed or suspended as governments scramble to contain the spread of the virus which has been declared a global pandemic by the WHO. UEFA 2020 and COPA America 2020, two of the year’s largest sporting events of the year have already been postponed to 2021. Even the Olympics scheduled to be held in Tokyo in July- August 2020 have been delayed to July 2021. The sporting world of India also doesn’t remain unaffected from this with the IPL, one of the most popular cricket tournaments of the world is now scheduled to be organised in UAE in closed stadiums to minimise the loss of franchises and consequently the investors.


Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the most keenly awaited events in India has also felt the warmth of Coronavirus, with the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) determined to postpone the beginning of the IPL season from April 15th to September 19 on UAE grounds thus putting an end to speculations over its brand sustainability. The Government of India and various state governments have mandatorily banned public gatherings due to reasons of public health and safety concerns. The authorities have additionally suspended visas from most countries which would further impact the participation of foreign players who are an important cog in the IPL. Given this background, the options before BCCI are somewhat limited.

An impact analysis disbursed on IPL ecosystem value calculated by Duff and Phelps last year evaluated to be US$ 6.8 Billion for the year 2019. Keeping in mind the scenario that IPL gets cancelled for the year, 2020 would result in a loss of value from US$ 700 Million to US$ 1 Billion ( approx. 10% – 15% of the total value)

The effect of COVID-19 is well visible on the brand value of the Tournament and also the franchises. Most of the franchises have seen around an 8-10% decline in the profits from the sponsors, and it would decrease even further if the IPL is played behind closed doors. However, this would bring in some extra profit for the broadcasters as more and more people would depend on their TVs for entertainment.

Due to depleting trust of the Sponsors, many new brands are coming forward to administer a revival to the teams. Some of these brands include the famous E-Learning platform Unacademy as well as Fantasy Sports Platforms like Dream 11 and Mobile Premier League ( MPL) and other such fantasy sports-related platforms.


The COVID-19 pandemic has also shaken the International Cricketing world to its roots. According to details from the International Cricket Council (ICC), both the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Men’s T20 World Cup have been postponed by one year. The former one has been delayed to November 2021 and the latter to October 2022. And due to the delay in preparations and management, the 2023 Cricket World Cup has also been delayed by eight months to the last month of the year 2023.

The team of West Indies may have been one of the weakest teams in modern cricket but they still have two memorable T20 World Cup triumphs in 2012 and 2016. However, this pandemic additionally brought a blow to some superstars of their team such as 40 years old Chris Gayle who had plans of bowing out of International Arena by clenching Another world title for the windies.

The virus has also affected women cricket which has been gaining popularity after the recent Women’s cricket world cup. The Final of the tournament played between Australia and India was attended by a record-breaking 86,000 people and thus helped in providing momentum to the teams. But this pandemic has come as a halt to their increasing popularity with almost all series and tournaments getting cancelled.

The uncertainties within the unfold of the virus and the availability of vaccines are the most important factors affecting when cricket would see the light again. But all major sporting bodies are trying to prove the old proverb that “The show must go on”.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to the association football ( also referred to as soccer) throughout the globe, mirroring its impact across all sports. Most of the National and International leagues and competitions of varying degree have been suspended, postponed or cancelled making soccer one of the worst affected sports.

Till June 2020, Yokary Liga, Belarusian Premier League and Liga Primera de Nicaragua have been the only three known top national football leagues that haven’t been affected and are still taking place as per their determined schedule.

On 9 March 2020, Oceania Football Confederation announced that each one of the tournaments had been postponed till June 2020. Some countries that recovered from COVID have shown some continuation of play after the situation got better, but still, most of the games are played with less than half the crowd and following all social distancing and health norms.

The Asian and South American 2020 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers due to be organised in March and April 2020 are disrupted by the COVID-19 and have been postponed to later dates. Olympic Qualification matches between many Asian countries such as South Korea and China have also been delayed. The 2020 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup tournament scheduled to take place in India in November 2020 has also been postponed and rescheduled.

The Premier League clubs enjoyed a record 6.65 billion USD of revenue in 2018-19 with an upward thrust of 7% in line with a Deloitte report. Still, a short-term decline in income is predicted for the 2020 season due to the Pandemic.

The report anticipates the Premier League to lose around 1.3 Billion USD of revenue this year despite restarting the competition back on June 17. Almost 600 million of this gigantic amount would be lost permanently thanks to the loss of matchday revenues like tickets, eatery and rebates on broadcast and commercial deals. The other half however is anticipated to be recovered by the 2020-2021 fiscal year, given most of the season would be played after June 2020.

The European football market as a whole generated a record 33 Billion USD in 2018-2019 in which the five major leagues from the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy have contributed over 19.5 Billion which is around 60% of the total amount. Still, the revenue is anticipated to decrease by around 20% because of the high impact on the economies of Italy, Spain and also the UK.


One of the Largest Sporting events to be organised on this planet, The Olympics have also faced the wrath of the virus. This has been the fourth instance in history when the Olympics have been delayed or suspended due to unavoidable circumstances. The Olympics have been delayed to the next year on the same dates as they were supposed to take place in this year but we can count on the fact that it won’t be the same even after the virus is extradited.

With 1000+ new daily infections in Japan Every day, Japan has been still successfully avoiding the disastrous effects that the virus has procured in other countries but still, the experts believe that even 2021 wouldn’t be a very good year for organising such a mega-scale event since it would possess a grave health danger to the local Japanese Public and since most people wouldn’t still have the antibodies defending them against the virus and the vaccines would not be widely available in all likelihood.

Recent government reports and surveys have shown that only 0.1% of people in the Tokyo region have antibodies against the virus which is very low compared to 14% in New York City and 7% in Stockholm.

According to the latest budget, the total cost of the Olympics was projected to be $12.6 Billion which was to be shared between the International Olympic Organizing Committee, The Government of Japan and The City of Tokyo. However, that amount continues to be disputed as a recent public audit has suggested that the Central Government has been in fact spent multiple times the amount projected on various things related to the Games. The delay in games has affected the metropolis of Tokyo in various financial aspects such as- Hotel Bookings, Pre-Booked Tickets, Transport Facilities and Venue Reservations.

The Japanese Government was trying to project these Olympics as “Recovery Olympics” symbolising the speedy recovery and quick restoration of the country from the Triple Natural Disaster it faced in 2011 including the Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown. But now these Games would be seen as an expression of Humanity’s Victory over the coronavirus.


Other less popular sports have also suffered irreversible damages because of this global Pandemic.

  1. Athletics: The 2020 World Indoor Athletics Championship scheduled to take place in Nanjing, China in the month of March 2020 has been delayed to 2021. One of the Major tournaments of the Year, The Diamond League was also affected. The first three events were supposed to take place in Qatar and China in April and May respectively but have been delayed to the end of the year.
  2. Badminton: The Badminton World Federation has suspended all the scheduled tournaments till the end of the year. The most affected tournaments were the Swiss Open, India Open and Singapore Open. The Uber Cup and Thomas Cup of 2020 have been postponed to 3-11 October due to pandemic lockdowns in the Host Country Denmark.
  3. Basketball: On 11 March 2020, the NBA declared a suspension on all the tournament and related activities regarding the spread of infection in some of the players. All the College Basketball and Ivy League tournaments have already been cancelled. Jordi Bertomeu, CEO of Euroleague has also suspended the EuroCup.
  4. Chess: The 44th Chess Olympiad scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia from 5th August was postponed to 2021 but later preponed back to 21st August and is currently underway. The FIDE Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia was also cancelled midway on the 26th of March after Russia decided to shut all the Air Traffic following the spread of the virus.
  5. Golf: All major professional and amateur tournaments stand cancelled until further notice including the Master’s Tournaments, PGA Championship and Open Championship.
  6. Shooting: The 2020 ISSF World Cup scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India from 21st March was postponed after India employed a nationwide lockdown from 24th of the March. The Olympics Qualifying tournaments and Test Events in Tokyo were also cancelled.
  7. Tennis: Tennis witnessed the first major US sports cancellation when the 2020 BNP Paribas Open Tennis tournament was cancelled on 8 March 2020. Following on 16 March, the French Open was postponed from 24 May to 20th September. The International Tennis Federation has put a pause on all the tournaments and WTA also cancelled all the WTA Tour championships.




The effect of COVID-19 on our day-to-day life has been immense and it will continue to affect us until a safe solution such as a vaccine has been invented. All the Industries are facing unforeseen circumstances but still trying their best to maintain things as they are for the general public and sports are also one of them. One of the greatest sources of entertainment to us, “Sports would never be the same again”. But life should go on as usual and we should take the necessary precautions required to control and overcome this pandemic.

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