Coronavirus and the soccer industry


Source: UOL

It was July 18th, 2020. Players eagerly entered the field, coaches gave stressed orders, and Brazilian fanatics were all at home, excited for the first live transmission of a soccer game since the shut-down. After the much anticipated game, the most talked about sport in the country was back on. However, the “Campeonato Paulista” and “The Brasileirão”, two of the championships that were re-initiated at the time, were not successful. Players and coaching/training staff were expected to get tested for COVID-19 every week, but after the matches restarted in mid-July, Brazilian clubs saw a spike in cases, leading to a debate about whether or not it was the right decision to restart tournaments. 

According to Globe Esporte, at least 151 players tested positive for the virus less than one week into the championship. Due to the worrying number of cases, officials decided to review the protocols, and chose to impose stricter regulations to slow the spread of the virus, instead of shutting down the championships again. Such protocols, one example being a mandatory increase in PCR tests for all players and staff, were successful and slowed down the spread of the virus inside brazilian soccer clubs. Despite this, clubs are actually worrying more about other pandemic-caused side effects than the actual Coronavirus cases within their teams. Should the sport resume a break, this could cause worsen economic crises that could mean the end of some clubs. Some implications of the lockdown on clubs are listed below.

One of the biggest sources of income for clubs is the tickets sold for each game. Since many Brazilians have a sacred tradition of going to every single game of the team they support, the amount of revenue the teams make by selling tickets greatly contributes to their annual revenue. Since fans have been prohibited from going to the stadium to cheer for their team, clubs have lost a significant amount of money as ticket sales have now stopped. Another way clubs will suffer from the prohibition of people attending games is through their merchandise stores; fans would go to the stores inside the stadium and leave dressed from head to toe in team colors, but with the lockdown, consumption has significantly decreased. 

Clubs were not the only ones who were impacted by the pandemic. Companies and street stands that sold beer, hotdogs, or other similar goods at the stadium during games have also suffered from a tremendous decrease in revenue. As attendance is non-existent, companies have no one to sell their products to, which has great impacts on various sectors of the economy. If the sport stops again, TV broadcasters would also suffer as there are no games to broadcast, there are no viewers, and consequently no revenue for these entertainment companies. The program options available on such channels will become scarce, and it will take a pretty long time for companies to regain such popularity. 

With all that said, a study conducted by Suno Noticias estimated that the industry can ultimately lose over 1.3 billion reais in only three months of shut-down. Thus, the soccer industry will suffer from great changes and will have to adapt to them the best they can while trying to avoid the many harmful implications. Who knows what the future holds for soccer in Brazil?