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January 5, 2022

Covid and sports: How has the cancellation of sporting events during the pandemic affected other industries?

Everyone knows the massive impact the coronavirus pandemic has had and continues to have on our lives. The effects of lockdowns and other measures to fight it have come with a significant cost. This has been felt across all industries, but the sports sector has certainly suffered from the ravages of Covid. 

Throughout the whole pandemic, there have been times when major sporting events were canceled to protect players and fans. While you might think that only the sports themselves were affected by this, it might surprise you to know that this had a knock-on effect for other sectors too. But which were most impacted by the canceling of major events in sports because of Covid-19?


One industry that has certainly felt the impact of sporting events being canceled over the pandemic is betting. This is not only offline betting at physical bookmakers but also online betting at sportsbooks. With events such as Wimbledon 2020 having to be called off, for example, it meant that the huge amounts wagered on them did not come into sportsbooks or bookies as usual. 

However, the sector has since bounced back and seems in stronger shape than ever after this initial drop-off. As sports started to open up and events began to take place again as expected, it enabled the industry to recover from the effects of Covid. In addition, offers to customers (such as a betting deposit bonus) and they’re still being some sports/markets to bet on when major events were canceled helped attract people into the sector.


The cancellation of sporting events certainly hit the hospitality sector hard and ramped up the pressure on catering businesses. No crowds being allowed into NFL games at times, for example, meant that there was no need for food or drink in the stadiums as usual. This was also true of other sports where fans were locked out, or events that usually hired in outside catering. For the companies that relied on the revenue covering these events brought in, it was a disaster. 

Looking back at the list of major sporting events canceled due to Covid makes for grim reading. These events not going ahead has also been a massive blow for the wider local economy and hospitality industry. Golf’s Open Championship being called off in June 2020, for example, meant that shops, bars, and hotels around Sandwich did not make the money they usually would during this event. This was a similar picture for local businesses globally, which often depend on the revenue they bring in during big sporting occasions.


The really big sporting events attract fans from all over the world to watch the action. This means that the travel industry takes a big hit when events such as the Australian Grand Prix in 2020 are called off. While this affects airlines that suffer from fewer people buying tickets to travel to sporting events, it can be felt by businesses in this sector domestically too. 

Events that are canceled result in people not buying domestic train or bus tickets to attend them. In addition, it can also see those who live locally to the event not buying train or bus tickets to attend as they usually would. With complex travel information around Covid, this has left the sector in a perilous state. 


This might not be a sector you would immediately think of as being affected by event cancellations in sport – but it did suffer too. People not attending major events meant that the usual stocks of merchandise for them to buy while there were not needed. This meant canceled orders to the companies that would normally produce the merchandise. E-commerce was also impacted by this because people did not want to buy branded goods online for events that were not happening. This not only saw online stores sell less than usual but also cancel orders with the manufacturing businesses that would normally supply specially branded event items.

Canceled sporting events due to Covid a big problem 

As fans, it is sometimes too easy to see big sporting events in isolation. But it is important to understand that it is not just about the game or the athletes who are performing. These events are massive operations and must cross over into other industries to function. As the above shows, when top events such as the BNP Paribas Open 2020 are canceled, it has a big effect on many other industries.

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