The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the sports and fitness industry and severely impacted the staging of sporting events around the world.
Virtually every major sporting event – from football, baseball and rugby leagues to aquatics competitions, horseracing and indoor sports tournaments such as darts and snooker – has been cancelled or postponed. Even the Tokyo Olympic Games, which was slated to start on 24 July this year, has been postponed to 23 July 2021 instead, with the Paralympic Games similarly postponed to 24 August 2021.1
In a bid to curb the spread of the virus among the community, sporting venues and facilities such as gyms, sports stadiums and swimming pools have been shuttered in many countries.2
Singapore has also closed all sports and recreation facilities from 7 April 2020 to comply with safe distancing measures implemented as a circuit breaker to minimise further spread of COVID-19.3 In response, Sport Singapore (SportSG), the national body promoting sports in Singapore, has encouraged people to continue exercising to stay healthy and boost their immunity.4
The pandemic has been a big blow to the global sports industry financially, in terms of lost revenues for the athletes, leagues, sports organisations, staff hired to work at sporting events, ticket sales and television contracts. In Singapore, the cancellation of sports competitions due to the pandemic, leading to the loss of event and sponsorship revenue (SGD $1.8 million in 2018) would potentially mean a 20 percent loss of its annual revenue for a national sports association such as The Swimming Association.5
With the COVID-19 pandemic upsetting fitness routines and social distancing becoming the new normal, many have turned to the Internet for help to get their endorphin fix. Fitness trainers, gyms and studios have deftly tapped into this need by providing a smorgasbord of pre-recorded or livestreamed online workout classes to suit varying fitness abilities and exercise preferences.6
Some countries have slowly begun to ease out of their nationwide-imposed lockdowns but in the new normal, sports competitions and matches will be played in empty sports venues. Players must undergo regular COVID-19 tests and safe distancing guidelines strictly adhered to for the foreseeable future. Professional football teams in Austria have already re-started training for the new football season and the German Bundesliga has sprung back into action after a 61-day hiatus. Over in South Korea, the professional baseball and pro soccer leagues have similarly been revived. Plans for sports such as basketball, rugby, cricket and ice hockey to resume in other countries are also being mapped out.7
To find out more about how people at home can keep active as well as how professional sports have adapted to the new normal, check out the resources listed below.
林德韧、马锴。（2020年3月14日）。疫情之下，体育产业“线上”展现多样业态。新华网。Retrieved 2020, April 30.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for online sports and fitness programmes and services as people are staying home. This presents new opportunities as business models change to meet this new demand.
Covid-19: BMT di rumah bantu rekrut ash kemahiran ketenteraan, tingkat kecergasan fizikal. (2020, April 26). Berita Mediacorp. Retrieved 2020, April 27.
3,400 army recruits have had to adapt and continue to keep themselves fit as they continue to serve National Service from home. Several home-based learning systems were prepared for them to maintain their skills and fitness while at home.
COVID-19: வீட்டில் வேலை செய்து கொண்டே உடற்பயிற்சி செய்ய விரும்பும் மக்கள். (30 April 2020). Retrieved 2020, April 30.
This is a sharing session by students and working adults on exercise routines to keep fit.
Disclaimer/ Rights statement
The information in this resource guide is valid as at May 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2020.
Coronavirus: How the virus has impacted sporting events around the world. (2020, April 19). BBC. Retrieved 2020, April 20 from https://www.bbc.com/sport/51605235; IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 organising committee and Tokyo Metropolitan government announce new dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. (2020, March 30). The International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2020, April 20 from https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-ipc-tokyo-2020-organising-committee-and-tokyo-metropolitan-government-announce-new-dates-for-the-olympic-and-paralympic-games-tokyo-2020 ↩
Coronavirus: Spain and France announce sweeping restrictions. (2020, March 15). BBC News. Retrieved 2020, April 30 from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51892477; Robinson, B. and Orihuela, R. (2020, March 15). Coronavirus lockdown tightens across Europe. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020, April 30 from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-14/france-closes-retaurants-shops-to-slow-down-virus-spread; Thongnoi, J. (2020, March 18). Coronavirus: Bangkok closes bars, schools amid surge in cases and public rumours of a lockdown. South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2020, April 30 from https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3075643/coronavirus-bangkok-closes-bars-schools-amid-surge; Worthington, B. (2020, March 22). Coronavirus crackdown to force mass closures of pubs, clubs, churches and indoor sporting venues. ABC News. Retrieved 2020, April 30 from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/major-coronavirus-crackdown-to-close-churches-pubs-clubs/12079610 ↩
Closure of all sport and recreation facilities. (2020, April 6). ActiveSG. Retrieved April 21, 2020, from https://www.myactivesg.com/Read/2020/4/Closure-of-all-sport-and-recreation-facilities; COVID-19: Out-of-home exercises should be done ‘alone, in immediate neighbourhoods’, says SportSG. (2020, April 22). Yahoo News Singapore. Retrieved 2020, April 22 from https://sg.yahoo.com/news/covid-19-outofhome-exercises-should-be-done-alone-in-immediate-neighbourhoods-says-sport-sg-001730605.html ↩
 COVID-19 latest updates. (2020, April 21). Sport Singapore. Retrieved 2020, April 22 from https://www.myactivesg.com/read/2020/4/covid-19-latest-updates ↩
Futterman, M, Draper, K., Belson, K. and Binder, A. (2020, March 14). The financial blow of the coronavirus on sports. The New York Times. Retrieved 2020, May 21, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/sports/sports-coronavirus-impact.html; Raymond, J. (2020, April 28). How will Singapore’s sports industry deal with the impact of Covid-19? Today. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/how-will-singapores-sports-industry-deal-impact-covid-19 ↩
Kennedy, K. (2020, March 24). Fitness enthusiasts think outside the gym during coronavirus. ABC News. Retrieved 2020, April 21 from https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/fitness-enthusiasts-gym-coronavirus-69746528 ↩
Hamilton, T. & Uersfeld, S. (2020, May 9). German Bundesliga resumes after coronavirus outbreak: What matchday, player testing and safety will look like. ESPN. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.espn.com/soccer/german-bundesliga/story/4092930/german-bundesliga-resumes-after-coronavirus-outbreak-what-matchdayplayer-testing-and-safety-will-look-like; Coronavirus: Austria football teams to resume training, games to be play behind closed doors. (2020, April 15). The Straits Times. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.straitstimes.com/sport/football/coronavirus-austria-football-teams-to-resume-training-games-to-be-play-behind-closed; Shergold, A. (2020, April 16). Bundesliga players train two metres apart, NBA stars are on 25-day ‘back-to-fitness’ plans and Australian rugby returns on May 28… how sports around the world are making plans to restart after lockdown. MailOnline. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nba/article-8213865/How-sports-world-making-plans-resume-following-coronavirus-shutdown.html; Asia Today: S. Korea has low daily increase as sports resume. (2020, May 5). Associated Press. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://apnews.com/e01477988078f606863a81d22586a5c7 ↩