Ivan Alonso, General Manager at Club Nacional de Football, reveals how the cancellation of sports matches has affected professional football in an interview with Betting in face of COVID-19.
Ivan is a former professional football player. He has been playing for River Plate, Deportivo Alavés, Real Murcia, Espanyol, Toluca and Nacional. He was a key hero of one of the most unforgettable finals of 2001 UEFA Cup between Alavés and Liverpool.
Interviewer: Betting in face of COVID-19 (BifoCOVID-19)
Respondent: Ivan Alonso (I. A.)
BifoCOVID-19: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected professional football?
I. A.: Unfortunately, COVID-19 became a global pandemic, threating public health but also socially and economically affecting the entire world. Professional football is no exception.
Due to this, almost every league took the decision to postpone the season to mitigate the spread of the disease. This situation will lead the whole football industry to economic losses that we can’t accurately estimate at the moment.
On the other hand, every crisis generates opportunities. I consider this situation is giving the football industry the opportunity to review and restructure the business and think in other ways to manage financial risks, for example.
BifoCOVID-19: What is the attitude of the football community to the cancellation and postponing of matches?
I. A.: In view of the health alarm situation, it is necessary to respond to the requirements of all governments and health authorities to cooperate in stopping the virus. It is essential to work on the health of players and other workers in the clubs, and of society in general. Health comes first.
In my opinion, there has been a rapid response from all the leagues and clubs in the world, which has not been easy. Sports and entertainment is our main work and without that, our organizations cannot move forward. However, it is allowing us to adapt to a new way of working, to reinvent ourselves and to keep our fans in touch with the clubs and players, as well as our partnerships with our sponsors.
In general terms, all major leagues are delighted with the football community’s responsible attitude under lockdown. They are sharing resources to help players stay fit, improve their skills and keep entertained on their website and social media.
BifoCOVID-19: What negative consequences can the sports industry face because of the cancellation and shift of championships?
I. A.: Broadly speaking, the business model of football and many sports is based on broadcasting deals, sponsorship contracts and “match day” income.
The lockdown is directly affecting the three revenue streams, but we are not able to calculate this damage right now, as it will depend on how the epidemic is progressing and leagues will be able to continue their activities.
BifoCOVID-19: Do you think it is reasonable to hold matches without the audience in the context of the pandemic? Please explain your viewpoint.
I. A.: By taking the necessary steps and being in constant contact with governments, yes, I consider it as a reasonable option. On the one hand, because it is a way to minimize damage and, on the other, it will give undoubtedly entertainment for people during the quarantine.
BifoCOVID-19: According to your forecasts, when will Europe restore national championships and European Cup tournaments?
I. A.: It is very difficult to predict due to the nature of this global pandemic. It is new for the entire world and we are learning how to deal with it.
Having said that, we can see some good news for the football industry: some leagues, such as Bundesliga, has returned to training, following a strict protocol.
But the important thing right now is to be very careful with the evolution of the pandemic. In that sense, football leagues must be in constant contact with governments, as it is happening right now, to find a good solution to help solving this crisis and come back to enjoy this beautiful game.
BifoCOVID-19: What will you talk about at Betting in face of COVID-19? Who will find your presentation useful?
I. A.: I’m delighted to participate in Betting face of COVID-19 and I will be talking about how this pandemic is affecting football industry and what opportunities are opened to such clubs as Club Nacional de Football. I will analyze how to “reinvent” their business model taking into more consideration other forms of entertainment that go beyond the game.
Besides, I will explain how this situation made us accelerate and integrate some adjustments to our digital transformation project making more focus on eSports, “play for fan” games, fantasy sports, among others.
On April 17, Ivan will be involved in Betting in face of COVID-19 aimed at the European market. Join the event in order to listen to this and other relevant presentations dedicated to strategies for combating the coronavirus crisis for betting providers.