Global Sports & Events Practice Leader
There is tremendous value in sports and major sporting events, on multiple levels – they bring people together in a manner unlike any other shared experience. With that significance comes massive revenue and market value potential, as evidenced by the billions of dollars that most of the biggest professional leagues bring in every year.
Much of that revenue was threatened in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down leagues and emptied stadiums and arenas. When sports events eventually returned, stadiums were relatively silent with players competing in front of cardboard cutouts and a soundtrack of crowd noise. The nearly empty stands not only stripped out the energy of the crowds, but also the revenue from ticket sales.
Competing during a global pandemic also required additional health tests, social distancing rules, contract-tracing protocols, and other measures. These increased costs, sometimes forced athletes to miss competitions, and caused several events to be canceled or postponed. Most estimates measure worldwide losses across sports associations in 2020 at anywhere from $50-$65 billion.
Although these extreme losses were from an outlier worst-case scenario, the pandemic underscored just how much risk is faced each day by those in every facet of the sports industry.
At Marsh, our specialist sports risk advisors take a consultative approach to helping you manage your own risks, understand your changing risk environment, and identify the right mix of risk mitigation and risk transfer strategies. We deliver specialized advice and solutions designed to assist you in responding to your financial and operational risks and help you obtain cost-effective and secure protection against the increasingly complex, highly competitive, and ever-evolving industry risk environment.
The US is home to the world's three highest-earning leagues in terms of revenue – the NFL, MLB, and NBA. Their championship matches such as the Super Bowl attract upwards of 90 million viewers each year and high-profile halftime entertainment. Numerous trends that have revolutionized the industry, such as sports-only news outlets and fantasy leagues, also originated in the US. The US sports market also has tapped into innovations from around the globe, such as the proliferation of legal sports betting and a growing interest in esports.
Future success and innovation in a US sports market still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on a clear understanding and management of traditional and emerging risks.
Marsh’s Sports and Events Practice is comprised of the leading minds in the business — experienced professionals committed to serving the sports industry, who are connected to both Marsh’s local US offices as well as our worldwide network. We tap into global insights and trends, combined with local knowledge of US risks and liabilities, to craft customized risk management solutions for you or your sports organization.
The biggest hazard to the sports industry is the ebb and flow of fan interest – fluctuations one way or the other can have butterfly-effect consequences on the entire industry. This is extremely difficult to predict with any certainty and thus not necessarily easy to mitigate.
That said, contingency planning is somewhat more feasible for many other sports sector risks, including but not limited to:
Generally speaking, all sports leagues (professional or amateur; youth or adult) should consider the following lines of coverage:
Beyond those fundamentals, the coverage provisions an individual or organization should pursue vary. Individual pro athletes, meanwhile, might want specialty coverage for high-value personal possessions or against kidnapping threats.
Other specialty lines worth thinking about include:
The scope and severity of risks facing sports organizations and professionals of all kinds means proper assessment of and planning for the precise hazards that may arise is of utmost importance.
Marsh brings significant experience to the table in the management of risks for athletes, teams, leagues, and other organizations in sports. We use cutting-edge analytics and outside-the-box thinking to help you determine your key risk priorities and design solutions that account for expected problems, one-in-a-million catastrophes, and everything in between.
Global Sports & Events Practice Leader