Along with the dormancy initiated by the coronavirus pandemic across sports, there’s a new industry anthem: “Waiting is hard.”
Even to those worsened by tragedies with the impact of 9/11 or natural disaster in their communities; the economic shambles of the 2008-2009 recession; and the strikes and lockouts which have closed every big hand and feet sports property at one time or another, this Covid-19 situation is unique and matchless.
The major debates after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was whether to hold sporting events as an act of defiance, or to postpone them in honor to the victims and the tragedy. The former sentiment won unanimously in America, stopping close to 180 games and events, and in the U.K., the 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed for a year. Unlike this time around where the lengthy postponements are due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. sports returned to action the following week after 9/11 attacks.
Until then, it will be a wide exercise for the sports industry in planning for those working at the middle of sports and commerce.
For now, both marketing and sports have been moved to the cancelled pile – it is a time for survival. From businesses and stock markets faring well to those deep in red ink, inertia is only paramount. And to think spending is less now, maintenance is high. From high technology costs to paying athletes, expenditure will keep skyrocketing until most teams file for bankruptcy.
The obvious and most daunting similarity to the situation after 9/11 is the fear factor. Sports ultimately allowed America to heal then but now it is the whole world suffering for the fear of the unknown. The obvious similarity is the immediate and potentially long-term economic impact it will have on world sports. The great depression of 2008 impact was significant, but the total shutdown of all sports at all levels was unexpected. While the recovery from 2008 economic meltdown lasted for some seasons, the recovery from this pandemic could spell disaster for few companies and last for a much longer time.
This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace