SURVEY: Sporting Host Cities Globally Expect Financial Hit from Coronavirus

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

April 03rd, 2020 News

Global PR firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) has unveiled a survey of host cities of upcoming international sporting events that will be impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Among their findings was that a significant number of host cities believe that the shutdown will impact their budgets not only in 2020, but in 2021 and beyond as well.

BCW surveyed 100 host cities around the world. Among their key findings:

  • COVID-19 crisis impacts budgets. In terms of the budget allocated to event hosting by various levels of governments, 78% of host cities expect to suffer financial losses in 2020 due to the cancellation or postponement of sporting events in their city or region while 43% of cities think they will suffer from a budget cut for event hosting in 2021 and 17% after 2021.
  • COVID-19 crisis impacts strategy. In terms of impact on overall hosting strategy, there seems to be a possible shift to focus more on national events, taking away focus from hosting future international events, with 37% of the cities saying that it is likely that they will host less international events in the future, while 17% saying that they will likely most more national events as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • COVID-19 crisis impacts hosting plans. 84% of the cities estimate that the COVID-19 situation will have a strong impact on their event hosting plans in 2020, but at the same time 58% think that the impact in 2021 will be only modest.
  • Whether the outbreak impacts the general public’s desire to host future events. The results were mixed While 40% of cities said it wouldn’t impact the city’s interest in hosting international sporting events, none said it would increase their interest and 37% said it would decrease their interest. 12% did say they would have more interest in hosting local or national sporting events, indicating a possible shift in perspective by large cities away from huge-scale events to hosting less complex local and national sporting events. These local and national events often come with far lower costs, and risks, than international events.

It’s worth pointing out that in recent years, many cities have suffered financial losses from hosting major events even under the best of circumstances.

“The sports events industry has largely proven to be somewhat recession-proof,” the full report says. “Most major sports organisations weathered the economic fallout of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the financial crisis in
2008. However, the current global crisis is forcing the cancellation or postponement of sporting events in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. And this extraordinary situation has serious financial consequences for host cities.”

The survey was conducted from March 23rd-29th, 2020, overlapping the announced postponement of the Toky0 2020 Olympic Games until July 23rd, 2021. With that Olympic postponement now official, the rest of the global sporting calendar is able to make informed decisions about whether to reschedule conflicting events or take on the world’s single largest event head-to-head.

Among the big announced changes so far: the World University Games will shift back 2 days, while the World Games will reschedule for 2022. No decision has been announced for the major events on the swimming calendar, including the 2020 and 2021 World Championships.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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