Sports Event Tracker: July 6 update

Two Circles analysts track the number of sports events taking place globally against an originally-scheduled, pre-Covid-19 sporting calendar. Only events for professional, competitive sports events with a projected paid ticketed attendance of at least 5,000 (pre-Covid-19) are considered.

Update: July 6
Time period: January 1-July 5, 2020
Originally scheduled number of events:
Actual number of events taken place: 12,018 (47.9%)

2020 Global Sports Calendar (Cumulative Weekly Events)
Japan to welcome fans from Friday following staggered sporting return

Japanese football’s top-tier J-League resumed over the weekend, a round of nine games on July 4 helping take the proportion of events over the course of the week to 222% (compared to the pre-Covid-19 calendar).

The 2020 J-League season had kicked off on February 21 but was suspended after one gameweek on February 25 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Japanese football’s second-tier restarted on June 27 – though J-League clubs chose a July 4 start date over an alternative June 26 date to give players more time to prepare.

The proportion of events in Japan has been running above 100% since the week commencing June 15 when baseball returned in the country. The 2020 NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) campaign, originally scheduled to start on March 20, began on June 19 though the total number of games has been reduced to 120 – 23 games fewer than usual.

Japan has largely held the Covid-19 pandemic in check – with 1,000 deaths reported in a country of 126m people – and according to the Associated Press, both the NPB and J-League will begin allowing fans into stadiums from Friday. The maximum number of fans permitted will be 5,000 or 50% of the stadium’s capacity – “whichever is smaller,” according to the AP – though fans will be required to wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and avoid shouting.

Instead of restrictive social distancing and large-scale testing, Japan’s Covid-19 approach was to find clusters of infections and attack the underlying causes, which often proved to be “overcrowded” gathering spots such as gyms and nightclubs.

The government urged people to avoid what they dubbed the ‘three Cs’ — closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact settings — in which people are talking face-to-face.

2020 Sports Calendar (Proportion of Weekly Events vs Pre-CV19 Schedule)
Previous Sports Event Tracker updates:
June 29: German sport weathers Covid storm with Bundesliga completions
June 22: Sport returns to China after five-month hiatus
June 15: Football and Royal Ascot put UK sport on road to normality
June 8: Football return boosts Portugal’s Covid-19 recovery
June 1: Germany leading European race to sporting normality