With the COVID-19 outbreak raging across all of Europa and North America most professional sports have been suspended indefinitely with potentially catastrophic consequences for the outlets that are dependent on these sports.
By Andreas Würtz Adamsen
The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging nations all over the world, with especially Italy, France, and Spain being in difficult positions at the moment. Not surprisingly and completely as expected this has resulted in the indefinite suspension of most professional sports across Europe.
In Italy, both football and cycling quickly came to a halt, as the Italian government already in the last weekend of February asking the Olympic Committee of the nation to encourage the cancellation of all events in the two Northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto, which were among the first Italian regions to be particularly hit.
This meant that one of the most prestigious events in the World of cycling, the Milano-Sanremo race, was canceled for the first time since 1945 and 1944, where the one-day race was canceled because of World War II. This is only the fourth time in history, that the organizers are forced to cancel the race, which is one of the five so-called Monuments of cycling. The previous three cancellations have all been due to warfare.
Impacting the life of sports journalism
The Italian race, that covers a total of 298 kilometers making it the longest professional one-day race in modern-day cycling, is far from the only race being canceled. Surprisingly, the Paris-Nice stage race went ahead as planned and started on March 8. Although the race was eventually cut short by one stage, the last of the race, it turned out to be the last professional cycling race that the peloton will see for a good while.
As such UCI, the governing body of professional cycling has canceled all races under their auspices until the end of April, meaning that all of the one-day classics that the Spring usually has to offer will not be raced this year.
Not only are these developments catastrophic for the riders and the teams that sustain themselves by partaking in these races, but the cancellations are also heavily impacting news outlets that make a living off reporting on and covering a sport like cycling.
Searching for creative solutions
As one would expect, not having any races to cover will put a strain on a site that specifically looks to write about cycling. I, myself, write for one of those sites. While it would be expected that the numbers of visitors will drop, we have all agreed to make an effort in finding creative solutions for this issue.
As such, we are all looking for different ways to make cycling relevant in these trying times – even with no races going on for the foreseeable future. Doing historical articles on prestigious races, opinion pieces on teams and riders, articles with a statistical point-of-view. All are examples of what we are looking into at the moment.
With many other sports canceled at the moment, one could expect similar situations for other news outlets dealing with specific sports like football. For these outlets to survive governmental help will likely be required, but thankfully the Danish government has agreed on trying to give a helping hand economically speaking to smaller companies and self-employed in the upcoming months. In any case, creativity and innovation will be more needed than ever for sports journalism in the upcoming months with no events taking place in the foreseeable future.