Coronavirus lands $48 mn sponsorship blow to sports in China

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The spread of Coronavirus has badly impacted the sports industry in China, which is set to lose over $48 million in sponsorships alone on account of the canceled and postponed events during the first quarter of 2020.

China’s General Administration of Sport (GAS) has instructed the nation’s sports associations to consider postponing or canceling events as far as April in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in the country, according to local media local reports.

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ASN’s data shows that the first quarter of the year, normally more subdued due to inclement weather, contains $48m worth of sponsorship deals, through around 350 individual contracts. That figure does not include deals that fall under long-term contracts.

The medical emergency has already lead to the cancellation or postponement of more than ten major sports events, with more reeling under the Coronavirus threat.

The CBA League

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) released on its Weibo page stating that the CBA League, the nation’s top-tier basketball competition, which was scheduled to begin its new’s season on February 1, would be postponed.

The CBA added it will “release separate competition plans and schedules on official channels based on how the outbreak progresses, as well as based on feedback from relevant authorities.” It also offered fans refunds for tickets purchased for the first round of league fixtures.

The CFA Super Cup & CSL

Originally scheduled to be held at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre on February 5, the CFA announced the CSL curtain-raiser between last season’s Chinese Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrade and the FA Cup winner Shanghai Shenhua would be postponed until further notice. The Chinese Super League (CSL), the nation’s top-tier football league, slated to begin on February 22, has also been affected.

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Asian Indoor Athletics Championship

The Asian Athletics Association announced the cancellation of the Asian Indoor Track and Field Championship, which was originally set to take place in Hangzhou on February 12 and 13, saying the unanimous decision was made to ensure the “safety of our athletes”, following requests from its medical commission and some member countries.

It is currently unclear whether the event will be moved to a new location or cancelled altogether.

World Athletics Indoor Championship

This decision has also influenced World Athletics to postpone the upcoming Indoor Championship slated for March in Nanjing by a year.

In a statement earlier this week, World Athletics said it had agreed to delay the event to provide “our athletes, member federations and partners with a clear way forward in what is a complex and fast-moving set of circumstances”. It admitted that it had no other option given that the spread of the virus both within China and across the world was “still at a concerning level”.

“We have considered the possibility of relocating the event to another country and would like to thank the cities that have volunteered to host the championships,” it added. “However, given concerns still exist regarding the spread of the virus outside China, we have decided not to go with this option, as it may lead to further postponement at a later date.”

Cycling Tour of Hainan

The Cycling Tour of Hainan, due to be promoted to the second-tier ProSeries this year, was scheduled from February 23 to March 1 on the southern island of Hainan. It has been cancelled “due to the health situation in the country”, the International Cycling Union said on Monday but could be rescheduled later in 2020.

Skiing World Cup

Men’s Skiing World Cup races set for Feb 15 and 16 in the Chinese resort of Yanqing, the first test events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, were cancelled and shifted Thursday to Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria on Feb 13 and 14.

China’s League of Legends

Esport events in China have also been affected, with the League of Legends’ Spring tournament, which was scheduled to begin on February 5, and the 2020 Legends Development League, the secondary league in China for the game, postponed.

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Chinese National Winter Games

The 14th edition of the Chinese National Winter Games, which was to be hosted in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, has been postponed, according to the event’s organising committee.

Originally, the event’s women’s ice hockey and biathlon competitions were to start on February 1, with the opening and closing ceremonies on February 16 and 26 respectively.

Chinese Grand Prix

Meanwhile, the Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to the Coronavirus threat which was scheduled for April 19 to 21. The FIA has postponed the Shanghai race and will now look for potential alternative dates later in the year should the situation improves. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared a global emergency as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread outside China.

Olympic Boxing Qualifiers

A boxing qualification event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics initially scheduled from February 3 to 14 in Wuhan was rescheduled for Amman in Jordan from March 3-11.

Olympic Wrestling Qualifiers under threat

The Wrestling Asian Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled for March 27-29 in Xi’an could be cancelled. “We are following the situation closely and we are in close contact with the Chinese Federation and local authorities,” Nenad Lalovic, president of the International Wrestling Federation, told AFP. Meanwhile, India has given the proposal to host the qualifying tournament as the threat continues to loom over China hosting it.

With the contagion showing no signs of slowing down, ASN will again revisit the commercial threat values should authorities extend measures into the second quarter of 2020.

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