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Ohter Sports

Forbes: Covid-19 is massively-affecting sports in South Africa

The three major sports in South Africa (rugby-cricket-soccer) have been seriously hit due to the suspension and cancelation of competitions with other sports at risk due to the potential sponsors' retreat.

A security guard wears a face mask in front of an empty stand before the start of the the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on August 8, 2020. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

The three most popular sports in the worst-hit African country during the Covid-19 pandemic have been experiencing an unprecedented crisis, as rugby, cricket, and soccer are suffering from plummeting revenues while the whole sports sector in the country is exposed to the threat of sponsorship money drying up.

The biggest portion of revenues made by these sports majorly depend on broadcast, and for games like rugby and soccer, the suspension of broadcasting live competitions for several months during lockdown has had a negative impact on the industry and jeopardized the relationship with sponsors.

Moreover, the worsening economic crisis in the country - resulting in hundreds and maybe millions of job losses - contributes to the deterioration of sports business, because more people losing their jobs means more people canceling their subscriptions to the channels broadcasting sports events like " SuperSport" in what will be a longer-term effect of the pandemic.

Sponsors retreat from sports

That means that bad economic conditions will also have its impact on sports as heavyweight sponsors or "corporate paymasters" will refuse to pump their money into sports, at the same time they are laying off their employees to cut the cost.

The immediate priority to all sports currently is to keep paying the players and staff. Recently there have been salary cuts that suggest that luxurious days are over, for now, and possibly, the foreseeable future.

For instance, according to a report published on ForbesAfrica, "South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) faces the potential for collapse as we know it, with clubs already cutting player salaries, laying off non-playing staff and facing a burst to the bubble of what is seen by many as the richest and best-equipped league in Africa.

Absa announced a premature end to their lucrative deal as headline sponsors of the league, worth some R140 million ($8.3 million) per season, while stalwart clubs such as Bidvest Wits, with a rich 99-year history, have been sold as owners reconsider their appetitive for the sport."


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