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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