Like all markets, the Sports industry also stopped because of the Coronavirus, which impacted the entertainment industry and the overall economy.
For those of you who are sports enthusiasts, or who invest in the industry, G5 Partners spoke with Paulo Vinícius Coelho (PVC), one of the most respected sports journalists in Brazil and who works as a commentator at SporTV (Globo) and a columnist at newspaper Folha de S. Paulo and Radio CBN, to discuss the coronavirus has impacted the sports industry. He also commented on possible consequences, explained how his social distancing has been going and gave us tips on what books to read.
The complete interview is below:
G5 Partners: Soccer is an important source of entertainment. Do you think people in Brazil and the rest of the world are upset without the possibility of watching and discussing games, etc.?
PVC: Everyone gets upset when they cannot do what they enjoy. That can include going to the park, the beach, watching games at stadiums or on TV, and even not going to work. Many people don’t know exactly what they enjoy the most, but others do. Imagine those who know what they enjoy and can’t do it? Soccer represents that for a lot of people.
G5 Partners: Much is being said about players who make a lot money and could lower their salaries at this time. In your opinion, is this true and fair? The industry also has people who don’t make that much money.
PVC: Less than 5% of players have high salaries but even these players may have specific needs. Someone may have made a lot of money and just purchased a house in a certain month. Or unexpected expenses can come up. If these players reduce their salary, they will not be able to pay who they owe, and that person will not have the money they need. It’s a snowball type of situation. Nothing is fair. But anything may be required at this moment.
G5 Partners: Does the player category reflect our country’s inequality?
PVC: Yes, since few players make a lot of money and many players actually earn very little.
G5 Partners: At a time when almost all industries are affected, do you believe that soccer teams and media channels will be heavily impacted? For example, teams lose ticket revenues and sponsor exposures. Will the consequences be reflected when games return, such reduction in salaries, less hiring of new players? What can happen?
PVC: Everything will depend on how long the lockdown lasts. In 1918, the Paulista Championship stopped for three months due to the Spanish flu. But cost structures were different at that time. Even so, it is impossible to think that no one suffered then. Now, we will face the difficulties that will arise and will work hard to make up for lost time. Those who were able to plan and save situations link this will suffer less.
G5 Partners: The way how businesses are conducted and how people behave are expected to change significantly after the Coronavirus pandemic ends. What about the sports industry? How could it be impacted because of a shorter calendar and players inactive for long periods of time?
PVC: This varies according to country. In Italy and Spain, they expect to complete their national championships and met their sponsorship requirements. But this may be impossible. Championships will likely not bring in results, something that has not happened since war times. In Brazil, state championships will suffer the most since many teams have contracts with players that end in April and the crisis is expected to stretch out until August.
G5 Partners: You are a news enthusiast and enjoy working. What has been the hardest challenge for you during this quarantine period?
PVC: Staying home. I need to go to a drug store or a supermarket once a day, so I don’t go crazy. And working is always a form of therapy. I am writing articles as much as possible.
G5 Partners: What have you been doing during this social distancing period?
PVC: Reading, writing, talking to my sources and my family, as well as meeting up in app groups. We have wine and beer together through these groups. But while I’m working, I manage to forget that I’m actually trapped inside the house.
G5 Partners: What tips can you give to those who really miss watching soccer games or sports in general?
PVC: I think we can use this time to discover things that we don’t know. We can watch movies that we hadn’t watched, read books that we hadn’t read or play and interact with our sons and daughters.
G5 Partners: What tips can you give for those who are missing the games?
PVC: I suggest watching movies and reading books during this difficult time. (It can be one, two or three of each. Whatever you choose.)
G5 Partners: Can you give us a book or movie suggestion?
PVC: There is a wonderful book written by Ruy Castro, called “Metrópole à Beira Mar”. It narrates how Brazil entered and left the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. I loved it.