How the Pandemic Affects the Business of Soccer

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected people’s health on a global scale, but it has also tremendously impacted the global economy.  COVID-19 has put the world at a standstill, with multiple industries losing millions, even billions of dollars due to the economic slowdown.  In the world of sports, soccer has been hit hard. 

 

Even with soccer leagues coming back to full operation, the adverse effects are still apparent this season.  The first and perhaps the biggest is the loss of ticket revenue.  Ticket sales are a significant source of income for soccer leagues and clubs.  Despite the resumption of games, the health and safety precautions that had to be implemented meant that no fans were allowed in the stadiums.  In Europe’s top five leagues, only the Ligue One allows fans in the stadium, but in limited numbers.  Also, because of the initial cancellations, clubs also  suffered a significant amount of financial loss from broadcast and commercial income.

 

To give more perspective, in the 2018-2019 season, Premier League clubs earned over 680 million euros in game day revenue.  Experts speculate that this season, that number will drop to around half that amount. Although games will be broadcast, the teams’ income from ticket sales will be gone.

 

Another result of the pandemic is the cancellation of major competitions. The UEFA Euro scheduled this year was cancelled. This is an inter-country competition, meaning that fans from all across Europe would be traveling to show their support. With the UEFA Euro cancellation, it is no question that it is a major financial loss.

 

Lastly, the pandemic affects the transfer value of players. The revenue loss makes it difficult for clubs to spend money on big name players.  Given the transfer market’s vulnerability, clubs will choose to keep their players, increasing the  value of their best players.  The pandemic has forced clubs to reset and look inward and focus on developing their younger players.

 

The pandemic has been a tough time for the business side of soccer. While this economic slowdown has been unprecedented, soccer will prevail.  Soccer will adapt, make changes and continue to grow.