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News@Ivey · Ivan Langrish

The impact of the global pandemic on professional sports

Jun 19, 2020


Professional sports has the power to bring people together in support of their favourite athletes or teams. A case in point was when some two million people lined the streets of Toronto for a celebratory parade after the NBA’s Raptors won the league title in 2019.  

However, as COVID-19 affected the entire globe one year later, professional sports ground to a halt. While fans could no longer watch their sporting heroes, the downstream business impact has been vast, unprecedented, and widespread.   

The Ivey Academy hosted an interactive webinar featuring Dave Simpson, MBA '88 joined by a panel of sports professionals, including Laurence Applebaum, HBA ’94, CEO, Golf Canada; Christine Simpson, Reporter, Sportsnet & Hockey Night in Canada; and Stacey Allaster, MBA ’00, CEO, United States Tennis Association, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on professional sports from a leadership and media perspective.

The session talked about how cancellations are impacting players, employees, sponsors, and fans; the significance of a return to sport; and innovation shown by sports-related businesses during the pandemic.

“Isn’t that part of our job as leaders during COVID-19, you have to give everyone hope? Sport brings people together and it gives them hope,” said Allaster.

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