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Autumn is the new Spring. Senior Account Manager Josie dives into how sporting event organisations are adapting in 2020 as a result of Coronavirus.

Having waved goodbye to 2019 and welcomed 2020 with open arms, many of us had a lot to look forward to on our sporting agendas this year. From group ski trips, marathons and park runs to indulging in our patriotic competitive side when immersing ourselves in the Tokyo Olympics & Euro 2020. It’s safe to say that, due to the recent global outbreak of COVID-19 many of us may now find ourselves in a form of limbo. 

The news from our Prime Minister in early March advising the UK against mass gatherings due to the Coronavirus caused a flurry of responses from many of the major sporting organisations. With the team managing the London Marathon leading the charge, we soon found other large scale events and organisations following similar steps of postponement including; The Edinburgh Marathon, the UK’s Football League’s, all triathlon events and in more recent days The America’s Cup World series in Portsmouth and Wimbledon.

It seems that the need for postponing events is stretching across the silo’s of the sporting world from here to Australia, from running to tennis. As we see organisers cancelling as far as 22 weeks out from the event (Olympics & Paralympics), there are some people releasing statements as little as 6 weeks out – I guess we can’t blame them for initially being optimistic!

The question remains, can we really fit a years worth of activity into September & October, the answer – we can try our blooming best! 

With Great British spirit, we will march on and find a new normal amongst all of this and, it might even be a change for the better! With Global staged events not needing a slot until 2021, our nation will need to work together more than ever to ensure that everyone gets their turn entertaining the masses. 

For us at Brandwave, we are now proactively strategising to help our clients select the right date, audience type and digital approach for their activations, especially now that each event in the calendar will be up against many others trying to achieve the same results. As marketeers, we will need to focus on our niche specialisms, USPs, audience data and reach out to our followers on a personal level more than ever before. Given the current ‘lockdown’ we find ourselves in, we can expect that people will (hopefully) be itching to be amongst their sporting communities once lifted. Let’s take this time now to plan the best activations and events out there – and do it with high spirits! It will get better.

Our top tips:

  1. Research your new date in depth – consider competitor events as well as delayed music festivals, exhibitions & trade shows, product launches and potential changes in school terms.
  2. Request permissions / book your venue now – get your preferred date locked down to avoid disappointment later on when everywhere is booked.
  3. Book your preferred suppliers, contractors, freelancers, temp staff ASAP – these guys will get super busy in the Autumn, as everyone will want to use them at the same time.
  4. Manage expectations –  Look closely at your end targets from your activity and how you measure success – consider what these will look like given the current climate and communicate with your peers, clients & suppliers well on any changes.
  5. Don’t waste money on advertising right this second, this can happen later – wait until people are ready to spend money, socialise and commit to attending something.

Information Source for cancelled / postponed events:


Above all, keep calm – we’re all in the same boat. Good luck everyone, we’ll see you on the track/ pitch/ court in Autumn!

Josie Fabian