It’s a rough time for sports fans as sporting events fall victim to the coronavirus outbreak. This summer’s football European Championship is the latest to be called off, postponed until June and July 2021.

The past weekend saw events shelved or cancelled across Europe as large crowds are discouraged or banned.

The sudden void in rightsholders’ programme schedules has created a headache for them; and left many consumers wondering what their subscription sports packages are for.

As Variety reports, one emergency solution was to run replays of previous big events.

Global sports streaming brand DAZN told Variety that they are in daily contact with rights holders, and that, as yet, there were no plans to offer refunds to subscribers, although they can put their subscription on hold for up to four months without losing membership.

In Spain, the sports network Gol said that on top of no longer being able to broadcast sports events, it was also suspending all live programming, which includes panels and talk shows, in order to avoid putting employees at risk.

Telefónica’s broadcast arm Movistar Plus told Variety the company would make an announcement about how sports package pricing would be affected in coming days.

Meanwhile, Movistar is offering one month of free content to both pre-existing and non-customers via its Movistar Plus Lite app.

Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) has announced it will offer sports-package subscribers of its Viaplay streaming service a price cut to half of its TV and movie packages, affecting subscribers in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

Meanwhile, Alex Burmaster, co-founder of sports marketing platform caytoo, offers four key tips to sports sponsors.

  • Plan for the worst – assume your event definitely will be affected by the coronavirus crisis and plan for the worst-case scenario.
  • Fill the void and soften the blow – if an event goes ahead, but fans can’t attend, for example, then a sponsor could help make it viewable – Heineken paid South Africa’s state broadcaster to air the Rugby World Cup Final on terrestrial TV and radio so fans saw it for free.
  • Phone a friend, not a lawyer – try to solve a situation with a rights holder rather than looking to legal redress from the start.
  • Play the long game – make the best of things to fill the void for fans, and don’t over-react and compromise long-term relationships or reputation by being overly negative.

Sourced from Variety, WARC