America’s Goal Was Growth, With The World Cup Coming, The Future Looked Vibrant. Then the Coronavirus Happened
Soccer has been shut down due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. What will be the financial impact on the game of soccer? And, how can we work together to make sure the ball can roll out on the field with everyone back … when this outbreak is over?
Soccer fields and stadiums are closed. This pandemic has impacted youth soccer, leaving millions of youth soccer players missing the thrill of playing the game and elite players looking for guidance on their development. With dreams of becoming professional players, the future of America’s most talented youths depends on the financial health of the pro game.
There is no doubt, there will be a huge fall out from the Coronavirus COVID-19. In sports, the financial costs will be huge. Every time a match is canceled, millions of dollars can be lost. In America, however, where soccer was firmly becoming the default popular sport across the vast continent that spans the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, the financial loss will be even more bitter.
While it is obvious that canceled soccer matches games equate to a loss of ticket sales revenue and no media payments, but the longterm impact of the lost revenue can be much more severe.
Soccer is not a generational sport in America.
Kids do not grow up in homes where parents and grandparents recount tales of attending matches, watching the local MLS team win victories or lose because of a referee’s call. Soccer is still too young in our country to easily handle the infectious financial destabilization seeping across various leagues.
Read our updated coverage: CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 IMPACTING SOCCER
Trying to get ahead of the financial epidemic requires planning for what we can do as the pandemic stabilizes and eventually can get back on the field after the shelter at home isolation is over. And, we must realize that we are all in this together.
While wealthy Germany’s Bundesliga teams, including BVB, step up to help financially weaker teams to handle the financial impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19, nothing has happened like this on our soil.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates have agreed to step up and relinquish $100 million to offset the financial strain during coronavirus pandemic. Just announced March 28, Juventus Football Club S.p.A. confirmed that since the “current global health emergency is preventing the performance of the sporting activity, it has reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the First Team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season.”
As ESPN wrote, “Soccer’s next challenge after coronavirus is figuring out how to handle the financial devastation, but it can be done if all sides work together.”
What will happen with the American soccer leagues?
The NPSL, America’s thriving men’s soccer league with approximately 100 teams canceled its season last week. But the NPSL is not professional soccer in America. Sanctioned by the USASA, it is a high-level amateur league.
Only time will tell what will happen in the professional ranks but the differential between the MLS and the USL compared to the new professional league NISA has already started to show the fragility of our country’s emerging soccer growth. The teams in NISA do not have the same financial ability to endure a long term suspension of the game. Their pockets are simply not as deep.
But pointing out the obvious is not a worthwhile pastime. We will reach the apex of this pandemic and get to the other side.
What will the post-COVID-19 future look like?
The point of this article is to ask where are the leaders of the American game who will step up, the way Ronaldo has, the way BVB has and offer to forgo money in the name of the financial security of the world’s favorite game?
America is poised, frozen at the brink of a dramatic growth in soccer.
This pandemic, the Coronavirus COVID-19, can not be allowed to weaken the majestic efforts of so many who have grown the game in the USA.
It is time to step up, America.