After the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus from Wuhan, China, a global pandemic, came the cavalcade of cancellations and the pandemic of postponements. A desperate effort to curtail public events, to stop the spread of the disease.
It means the biggest time out in sports history.
theBreaker.news Podcast called upon Victor Matheson, a professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. who is one of the world’s top experts on the economics of sports and mega-events. His research has found spectator sports deliver less to the economy than boosters claim, because of what is called the substitution effect.
“In this case, it’s likely to be a much larger impact that we’re feeling on the local economy around Vancouver and other places in the country, because there isn’t going to be people who don’t go to a Whitecaps game, don’t go to a Canucks game, who then instead spend the money elsewhere,” Matheson told theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin. “Because people aren’t going out to dinner, they’re not going to the theatre, they’re not going to other entertainment events. Any money not spent in professional sports, it’s not getting spent elsewhere in the local economy. It’s just not getting spent at all.”
The impact will be immediately felt by the hourly workers who operate, maintain and clean sports venues and those who work for area hotels and restaurants frequented by fans, teams and media. Major leagues that have suffered strikes or lockouts should be resilient again. Not so much for minor leagues, women’s leagues and startups. There are also major ramifications for broadcasters and advertisers, who were banking on the races for NHL and NBA playoff spots (postponed), the NCAA basketball’s Final Four (cancelled) and golf’s marquee tournament, The Masters (postponed).
The biggest question revolves around whether the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are rescheduled or cancelled. For now, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee say the show will go on, as scheduled, on July 24.
“Tokyo has about 25 billion reasons to want to make sure the Olympics goes through in some sort of way,” Matheson said. “Because that’s about what they’ve spent preparing for the Olympics.”
Listen to the full interview with Matheson on this edition.
Also, more on the shocking March 14 announcement from Vail Resorts Inc. that it would close Whistler Blackcomb and its 36 other resorts until March 22, at least.
Vail acquired 75% of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings in 2016 for $1.4 billion and the 2010 Winter Olympics host resort is the jewel in its portfolio. It suffered a poor start, with little December snow and disappointing international visitation numbers in January. Now the coronavirus shock to the global tourism industry.
Listen to what Vail Chair and CEO Robert Katz said when asked March 9 on a call with stock analysts whether he anticipated closing resorts during the lucrative spring break/Easter period.
Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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