The State of The Sports World Through The Pandemic
- 26 Jul 2021
The global economy took an enormous hit throughout the pandemic, with damage felt in almost all sectors, including sports. There were events and tournaments cancelled all over the world, with stadiums standing empty and desolate. Players have largely agreed to pay cuts, which may last for years to come. Despite this, sporting events are making a slow comeback, with the Euros well underway, fans filling stadiums to a capacity of 10,000, and England gearing up to dominate the semi-finals and “bring it home” - but where do we put it if it does come home?
Before we digress further, let’s take a dive in and look at how the sporting world has changed during the COVID19 pandemic.
The Live Sports Side
As mentioned, live sports events have largely been cancelled during the pandemic, which has caused a ripple effect in other areas. For example, with the lack of live sports to air, TV giant Sky reported a loss of £575 million between March and June 2020. To keep hold of the majority of their customer base, they gave sporting subscribers a payment respite until live sports returned. Now, however, with vaccines rolling out and restrictions set to end in England on 19 July 2021, the TV giants can get back to doing what they do best.
People love betting on sports, especially football, but with no live events to bet on, there was an impact on the gambling world. The global pandemic saw land casinos, bookies, and in-person sports betting drop to a flatline of zero. However, alongside this, there was a rise in virtual sports betting by 88% and in poker by 53%. With the UK being full of heavy gamblers, as found by the House of Lord’s report in 2020, there was bound to be a significant loss.
Now that sporting events are coming back into the limelight, and the Euros and Wimbledon currently taking place, sporting fixtures and odds are making a significant return. The good news is that you can catch all the latest sports events live over at Oddspedia.com.
With the world largely shifting over to remote everything, it’s no surprise that eSports have dominated the pandemic. In 2020, eSports reaped the rewards of the pandemic, with the sector’s overall worth around £1.2 billion. Although the most popular eSport events aren’t geared towards sports, there are plenty of events that focus on games like Fifa. Essentially, if there’s a physical sport you like, there’s likely to be a virtual sporting event for it. Even Formula 1 jumped on the craze and held a virtual Grand Prix. The eSports industry truly shows no sign of slowing down and can’t be held back by the likes of a global pandemic.
As sporting events get back underway, it’s hoped that the economy can start to rebuild. Although capacity is capped at 10,000 people per game at the moment, it’s considerably better than seeing players battle it out in front of cardboard cutouts of fans. However, although live sports, viewerships, and betting are getting back to it, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) is making waves with proposed changes to the Gambling Act 2005. These damning changes would see a limit to sports shirt sponsorships, which may leave numerous football clubs’ lives in the balance - given that they rely on large sponsorship deals mainly from betting businesses - an ecosystem that keeps the ball rolling. Through the changes, there would also be a hit when it comes to gambling - with limitations on payouts, affordability checks, and the amount of money placed on bets capped. The sporting world hangs in the balance, but it’s too early to say for sure which way the tide will turn.
Throughout the global pandemic, the sporting world was shattered as events and tournaments all over came to a sudden halt. Players have taken pay cuts and fixtures were postponed by the likes of the Premiership. TV giants posted huge losses at the start of lockdown. with revenue losses taken through subscription refunds. However, seeing the gap in the market and fully taking advantage is the eSports industry, with more online casinos offering live coverage all the time - even the F1 got in on the action. The future of the sports industry is shaky, with changes to the Gambling Act 2005 set to put a giant wound in many sports teams’ pockets, but we firmly believe it will survive and prosper once the pandemic ends.