Sports Event Tracker: June 22 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: June 22
Time period: January 1-June 21, 2020
Originally scheduled number of events:
 23,798
Actual number of events taken place: 10,991 (46.2%)

2020 Global Sports Calendar (Number of Weekly Events)

Sport returns to China after five-month hiatus

The CBA (Chinese Basketball Association), suspended on January 24, restarted over the weekend marking the return of major professional sport in China for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Covid-19 cases were first identified in Wuhan City in December 2019, and at its peak in February 2020, China reported 3,800 new cases of Covid-19 in a single day.

Following basketball’s return, the proportion of events taking place last week (compared to the pre-Covid-19 calendar) in China went from 0% to 150%, and is projected to reach 500% this week.

CBA teams have been training in isolation for months and to finish the season, the 20 teams are playing remaining regular season fixtures without spectators in two separate locations: Qingdao (Shandong province) and Dongguan (Guangdong province). A new shortened post-season will see the top 12 teams play two play-off rounds before the semi-finals and final are played in a best-of-three format, down from seven-game series.

Basketball and football (soccer) are the two biggest professional sports in China, and though the Chinese Football Association has made several proposals to restart the top-tier Chinese Super League, none have been approved by the General Administration for Sport and Centre for Disease Control.

Unlike the CBA, the CSL relies more heavily on foreign players and coaches, many of whom are currently prevented from entering the country due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. The 2020 CSL was originally scheduled to begin in February.

2020 Sports Calendar (Proportion of Weekly Events vs Pre-CV19 Schedule)

In Europe, the return of football in Italy saw the proportion of events taking place last week (compared to the pre-Covid-19 calendar) hit 356% with four top-tier Serie A games, 11 Serie B games and the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Juventus all taking place over the course of the seven days. Two rounds of Serie A and one round of Serie B fixtures this week will help take the number of scheduled events in the country to over 10 times (1067%) the number of events on the pre-Covid-19 calendar.

In the UK, the proportion of events taking place this week compared to the pre-Covid-19 calendar is projected to reach 83%, up from 57% last week, thanks to a feast of football that includes 13 Premier League fixtures, a full round of Championship fixtures (12) and the FA Cup quarter-finals.

UK horse racing is also back in full flow with 22 meetings taking place across the region; last week, in addition to the five-day Royal Ascot Meeting, 19 meetings took place.