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Impact of Covid-19 on the multi-billion-dollar football industry

At the time of writing (March 27, 2020), football around the world has ground to a halt following the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic.  In England, there have been calls by some to declare the football season null and void and start again with the new season when possible. But this could have serious financial implications across the English football pyramid. For example, in the second division, The Championship, promotion to the Premier League has huge financial benefits and can change the fortunes of the clubs. Another solution, which seems to have come to the forefront in the past week, is to finish the season behind closed doors. The majority of players at the elite level have their income funded by television money and in order to protect these salaries this may be the only viable option.

For smaller clubs, losing match day revenue is not economically viable as clubs are run on much tighter margins than those at the elite level. The EFL has already announced a “short term relief package” of £50m (approximately $60m) which should help the 71 EFL clubs through the next couple of months. Additionally, the National League has asked the Football Association (FA) for £17m (approximately $20m) to save the top two divisions in the non-league system which has 68 clubs.

Concerns remain over what this means for fans who have spent considerable money supporting their clubs. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have the highest priced season tickets in English football by some distance, charging in excess of £1,300 (approximately $1,560) on average. Moreover, Newcastle recently charged fans for the renewal of season tickets for next season despite the current crisis.