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Athletics - 19. May 2020.

Canadian government provides support to the sports sector

Rio 2016: Canadian athletes stay close to home in lead up to Games

Sports organizations and teams have been one of the worst hit entities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With sporting competitions and events coming to a screeching halt, as lockdown measures went into place and people were required to not have human contact as much as possible, there has been a huge drop in terms of revenue for all these organizations. Even now, with some countries giving the go-ahead for sports to resume, this will be done in stadiums and arenas which are empty, and this will likely be the case well into next year. With teams looking at huge losses from the absence of ticket revenue, other stadium sales and merchandising, it will be no surprise if many teams struggle financially and even go under, especially at the lower levels of sports. There is a huge need for this sector to receive support from governments globally, and the Canadian government has taken a big step in this regard by announcing a $72 million package for the country’s sports sector.

One important part of this relief measure, is that it is aimed at amateur sporting bodies and organizations, not professional outfits. Thus, one of the biggest beneficiaries will be the Canadian Olympic Committee, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics having been postponed by a year due to the pandemic. The aim of this funding is to allow sporting institutes and organizations to remain afloat and functioning, and thus, the money will be distributed based on need, whether it be to national organizations, local clubs or even athletes whose funding has been impacted due to the pandemic. One of the most significant beneficiaries of this program will be athletes whose Sport Canada financial assistance has been impacted due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Of course, the lack of sport has had a knock-on effect on many other sectors, with one of them being the sports betting industry. With no sporting events to bet on, a lot of sports-betting focused websites are struggling, with many of them offering odds on the various e-sports leagues that have cropped up due to the absence of any live sports. Websites providing online casino games in Canada have also begun to have sport-themed games in order to attract the sports betting crowd, with there also being a rise in AI-powered sports matches for viewing and even betting. This is just one example of a sector that has been equally hit due to the lack of sports, with many others, from the stadium and arena operators, to vendors who rely on matchday crowds for their income, probably being similarly impacted in terms of their revenue losses.

It is thus extremely encouraging that the Canadian government has taken this step to try and safeguard Canadian sporting organizations as much as possible, especially amateur outfits which would struggle the most in the absence of sports. It is a great first step, but there is a lot more that needs to be done, including the proper delivery of these funds to those who need it the most, and also possibly making more money available as the lockdown goes on.

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