How the UAE sports sector is adapting to COVID-19

How the UAE sports sector is adapting to COVID-19
Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2020. Written by Steve Bainbridge, Ujjwal Ashok No Comments

The world before covid-19 seems a long time ago[1].  Any way you choose to look at the global sports and events sector, as we have just passed the halfway mark, 2020 has already been a year of monumental disruption[2].  Competitions in most major professional sports have been topped, tailed, trimmed or truncated[3], while major events from the Tokyo summer Olympics[4] to Wimbledon and many points in between have been subject to postponements, cancellations and calendar re-shuffles[5]

Quite apart from the human costs of the pandemic[6], the economic impact in terms of devastating job losses, lost broadcasting revenues, gate receipts, sponsorship funding and vital footfall for travel, tour, hospitality and other symbiotic sectors has left event rights-holders and venues amongst those scrambling to plot a course forward. The previously booming sports industry has suffered a significant dent in global revenue[7] as a result of the coronavirus triggered shutdown starting in March 2020, when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

This article examines how the UAE’s sports sector has been affected by the pandemic and the key elements required for a speedy recovery. Specifically, it looks at:

  • The impact on UAE sports & events
  • Lessons from sports and events that have successfully pivoted
  • How shutdown dynamics work
  • Classifying and addressing the risks
  • Return to sport guidelines – logistics
  • A way forward

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About the Author

Steve Bainbridge

Steve Bainbridge

Steve has almost 20 years experience in his field of expertise; and, he has significant experience advising on a wide array of the transactional elements underpinning the sports and events management sector from sponsorship agreements and packages of all types to athlete endorsement agreements; anti-ambush marketing strategies and enforcement; player contracts; broadcasting agreements and IP registration and enforcement; merchandising and licensing agreements; player disciplinary issues; event security; ticketing arrangements and varied venue/facilities management arrangements.

Steve rejoined Al Tamimi & Company in 2013 with a mandate to develop and head up the region’s first dedicated Sports Law Practice, which has since grown rapidly as a regional leader to include key advisory roles representing individuals, corporate entities, governing bodies and institutions in connection with events spanning motorsports, horse racing, triathlons, MMA, cycling, golf, tennis, cricket and football to name but a few.

 

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Ujjwal Ashok

Ujjwal Ashok

Ujjwal Ashok is a Paralegal at Al Tamimi & Company, working in the Sports Law and Events Management practice (Dubai) and supports the team across a range of matters. This has included preparing legal submissions before international sports adjudicating authorities, drafting commercial contracts, advising on commercial issues in relation to sponsorship agreements, naming rights agreements, force majeure processes, esports related issues and other commercial and contractual issues in connection with sports and events ranging from UCI cycling events to World Athletics sanctioned half marathons and FIA sanctioned motor racing events

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