Spare A Thought For The Forgotten Businesses During Football’s Lockdown

The Premier League, as we have been aware for many years, is littered with large multinational corporations masquerading as football clubs. This is not a criticism; rather a statement of fact. The financial hit to some of these clubs could be considerable and jeopardise future success, but one imagines that the biggest clubs will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic much in the same state as they entered it. Of course, things are not so certain further down the football ladder even if there was some initial joy at non-league games going ahead.



But it’s worth examining football’s broader business eco-system and considering how people’s livelihoods will be impacted. We know, for example, that matchday revenues go well beyond the stadium, impacting local shops, fanzine sellers, scarf sellers, food stands and everything else in between.


Consider this case: Franklins Sports Bar in Belfast city centre. The first dedicated sports bar in the city opened to much fanfare on the eve of the Six Nations. Now, just weeks after opening, the big screens were showing the World Rally Championship Mexico Rally and the Snooker Gibraltar Open. You don’t need to be from Belfast to appreciate that cancelled fixtures like Tottenham vs Manchester United in the Premier League and France vs Ireland in the Six Nations would have drawn the crowds. After all, it was St Patrick’s weekend in the city.


Finding An Alternative Sports Fix

Bars like those mentioned above will probably be in lockdown by the time you read this, so having no popular sports to screen is perhaps a moot point. However, it is another example of how there is a broader picture when it comes to football’s postponement. If you check MansionBet’s Football page for upcoming games, you will see that much of the focus is on the very small number of leagues still playing around the globe, as well as some long-term events like World Cup 2022. Everyone is waiting for the big guns to get back to playing.


Indeed, another area that might be overlooked in terms of business impact is the events staff who make hosting an event like a football match possible. It takes so many people to pull off an event like a football match, and many of them will be on zero-hour contracts. Indeed, one would imagine that businesses like Eventsec, G3 Security and others who provide stewarding and security for events are in for a rough few months as there will surely be a cancellation of music and arts festivals.


Hotels Near Football Grounds Could Suffer

Elsewhere, we will see a knock-on effect on hotels. Consider properties like the Premier Inn and Hotel Football near Old Trafford. These are businesses that survive due to patrons staying before and after matchday – there is nothing else in the area to give people a reason to stay.  It’s worth remembering that a hotel will also have staff on zero-hours contracts, perhaps temporary hands drafted in on busy matchdays. Where do they go from here?


None of this is meant to sound like scaremongering, nor is it an exhaustive list of those who will be negatively impacted by the sports shutdown. However, we tend to view football business as a direct relationship between fans and the club when there is so much more that goes in. We mentioned a business eco-system created by football teams all over the country, and many parts of that eco-system could suffer if the season does not return soon.


Image: PA Images