As governments around the world bring in measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions of mass gatherings of spectators have forced the cancellation or postponement of a series of major sporting events. With players and staff succumbing to the virus, plans to play matches behind closed doors have also been scrapped over the last week.
The disruption to the sporting calendar is likely to last well beyond the point when the pandemic is brought under control, with broadcasters and rights holders suffering a loss of content in the short term as well as potential loss of revenues from advertising and subscription.
The table below summarises the major events impacted, ranging from the NBA and European football leagues, which were approaching the end of their seasons, to other leagues which are likely to see a delayed start, like the MLB, Indian Premier League and Formula One motor racing. The summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, one of the showpiece events of the year, is due to start in July but the IOC has reaffirmed that the event will go ahead as planned. Germany’s DFL, which is preparing the tender for media rights to the Bundesliga from 2021/22, has also said that the process will go ahead as planned.