The coronavirus pandemic has caused a large majority of sporting events to be canceled or postponed. Only 53 percent of the year’s sporting events that were originally scheduled will take place, according to sports data and marketing agency Two Circles.
The new projections are forecasting that just 26,424 sporting events will be held during 2020. There were around 48,800 sporting events that were scheduled to be held prior to COVID-19 spreading around the world with a projected attendance of over 5,000.
In addition, the sports industry will only stand to generate $73.7 billion in revenue during the 2020 calendar year. Those projections are $61.6 billion less than originally thought before the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, the sports industry generated $129 billion in revenue.
According to the Two Circles study, the sports industry was originally on course to hit US$135.3 billion in total income, which would have been a 4.9 per cent increase on the US$129 billion generated in 2019. However, with leagues and federations scrambling to mitigate the damage following the suspension of nearly all sporting events in mid-March, it is estimated that only 53 per cent of scheduled events will go ahead this year.
That revenue estimation is derived from cumulative revenues generated by rights holders through their event-day operations, as well as the sale of media and sponsorship rights.
Two Circles based its findings on a ‘staggered return’ of live sport, which it expects to spike in September.
“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’ chief executive.
“However, sport 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 sport without crowds poses a complex challenge.”
According to Two Circles’ Sports Attention Index, there were 49,803 major sports events with a gate of more than 5,000 paying spectators expected to take place this year.
Of the 5,584 due to take place in March, only 1,870 (33 per cent) went ahead as scheduled.
Balch added: “Compared to most other industries, in recent times of economic adversity sport has proven to be recession-resilient.
“Whilst live sport 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, sport’s economy will thrive once again.”