Ad firm: Coronavirus hiatus could cost major sports broadcasters $1 billion

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the sports world to a screeching halt over the past month.

Now, at least one advertising firm is predicting that the lack of sports could end up costing a lot of lost money in lost advertising revenue for broadcasters.

MediaRadar, an advertising firm out of New York, found that when they combined ad revenue broadcasters earned off NBA, NHL and MLB games in 2019, the current sports hiatus could end up costing broadcasters $1 billion, according to CNBC.

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The NBA generated more than $800 million during that time period, a figure higher than normal for the league due to the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason, per the report. The NHL generated more than $120 million, and the MLB did about $60 million, a lower figure due to it being at the very beginning of the season

There were more than 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of Friday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 275,000 cases in the United States alone — more than double that of any other country. 

The virus has already forced teams and organizations in different leagues around the world to cut the pay of workers and players. The Utah Jazz became the first team in the NBA to implement layoffs on Friday, and the league asked players to take a 50 percent pay cut starting in mid-April

What happens if sports, like the NFL, can’t be played this fall?

The $1 billion in lost revenue is staggering on its own.

That, however, could be just the beginning.

“As difficult as March through June is, a whole other scale of it continues for the fall,” MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman said, via CNBC.

Many have predicted that both college football and the NFL will be canceled or significantly altered due to the coronavirus this fall, especially if widespread testing for the virus is still not available. And if there’s no football, it’s extremely doubtful that any other sport will be taking place.

As the CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci put it into very clear sports terms on Thursday, “we’re not even to halftime” in the fight against the coronavirus. 

If that’s the case, and sports aren’t played through the end of the year, MediaRadar predicts that there could be up to $6 billion in lost revenue from the entire NFL season, MLB postseason and starts to the NBA and NHL seasons not taking place. 

Whenever things do finally get back to normal, however, Krizelman doesn’t think broadcasters will have any issue making up for lost time.

“Looking at all the drop off of live sports and live events, I think there will be significant demand [when sports return],” Krizelman said, via CNBC.

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