COVID-19 vs The Sports Industry by EIR Mark Phillip

By EIR Mark Phillip

Seismic?  Unprecedented?  Unparalleled?  I’ve run out of adjectives to describe COVID-19 and its effect on the sports world.  Postponements started trickling in early March, but when the NBA tipped on March 11th, the rest of the leagues fell over like dominoes.  Some diehard fans held out hope for Australia, but most of their leagues closed their doors just 10 days later. Force Majeure is the most important term in the industry right now.  Force Majeure clauses are built into every major contract and put simply, means that if there’s an “Act of God”, like a meteor hitting New York City, either side can walk away or get some sort of relief.  The problem is, no one knows how to classify COVID-19.  The NHL’s and NBA’s agreements with players contain a Force Majeure clause which entitles them to not pay out full player salary in case of an Act of God.  Comcast has spent more than $12B on the U.S. Rights for the Olympics, and they had already sold $1.3B in ad space for Tokyo before the postponement. Is COVID-19 an Act of God or not?  Should those sponsors get their money back or not?  There are lots of complicated questions and lots of money weighing in the balance. June 1st is the consensus target for lots of leagues, and there are lots of pent-up fandoms that can’t wait that long.   Desperate for action, some die-hard Sports Gamblers started betting on Australian Rules Football, even though they didn’t know the rules, because it was the only sport left.

In the meantime?  How about Marbles: CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

No Horse Racing?  Just go virtual: CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Missing NASCAR?  Millions watch professional racers in a simulation CLICK TO LEARN MORE

The good news is that sports will, eventually, be back in some form. 

The only question is: What will it look like when it returns?

Mark Philip is the CEO and Founder of Are You Watching This?!, a B-to-B Sports Excitement Analytics company using patented algorithms to identify Instant Classics in the making, in real-time. A Brooklyn native, MIT dropout, and lifelong Yankees fan, Mark is obsessed with enhancing the game-watching experience through digital and physical innovation, whether it's teaching a DVR to automatically extend the recording of a game going into Overtime, or hand-building wireless LED excitement meters for every TV in his favorite sports bar. When he's not watching Cricket at 4am, you'll find him working to improve diversity and equality in the tech community, mentoring at schools, accelerators, and incubators around Austin.

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