Coronavirus: not the first global health crisis to impact sport

Loughborough University’s Professor James Skinner, Director of the Institute for Sport Business, and Aaron CT Smith, Associate Dean for Enterprise and Professor of Sport Business, discuss how coronavirus is not the first global health crisis to impact sport in The Conversation.

Coronavirus has plunged the global sporting calendar into disarray. Football fixtures across Europe have now been postponed, including the Euro 2020English Football League and the English Premier League.

Such scenarios remove revenues from gate takings, significantly affect sport media broadcasters and leads to knock-on effects for sponsors and advertisers.

Some estimates suggest the postponement of EURO 2020 will cost UEFA roughly €250-300 million (£230-280 million). There are now also being doubts cast over the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, despite recent posturing from the International Olympic Committee that the Games will not be postponed.

This is, however, not the first time a global health crises has impacted on global sport. From HIV to SARS, to Avian Flu and to Ebola, the sporting world has gone through this before – albeit not on such a large scale.

Sars and Avian Flu

Sars, which was recognised as a global threat in March 2003, was thought to be caused by a type of coronavirus and was of particular concern among the medical community because its structure made it very easy for the virus to mutate.

Avian flu, or Bird flu also emerged in late 2003 as another potential global health issue. The new strain was capable of infecting humans and countries were urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, and not to relax their surveillance and detection efforts...

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.