Data firm Abelson Info details how sporting events are recovering following the Covid-19 pandemic and how betting markets are developing
With 2021 now behind us, we have looked at our coverage data across the year to see how it compares to previous years, in order for us to understand how sporting event volume was affected by Covid-19 disruption.
The chart below shows coverage for our product, Goalscorer Pricing & Settlement (GPS) which provides pricing for football player markets across 110 competitions in more than countries. As such, we believe that this coverage is a good proxy for how high-level football competitions have been affected throughout the period.
The orange line, representing 2020, highlights the postponement of high-level football from March to June, with a recovery from June to August, and a short, delayed break throughout August. The dark and light blue lines (2019 and 2021, respectively) however are broadly similar, showing that 2021 did indeed return to 2019 coverage levels. Note, the 2021 line in the latter half of the year is higher than previous years due to our growth from client requests, not due to more events happening.
Our ‘Fixtures & Results’ research details event creation and settlement data for a much wider range of sports and competitions. This data is therefore more representative of global sport, and indeed betting activity, at all levels. The chart below shows how overall event volume numbers changed each year over the last three years.
Football faced a 33% decline in 2020, however returned to 2019 levels in 2021. That pattern is replicated across nearly all sports, with the well-publicised exception of table tennis, that boomed in 2020 (400% increase on 2019) but has now returned to pre-Covid levels.
In fact, basketball, handball and tennis events all posted increases compared to their respective 2019 levels showing an even more positive reaction following the impact of Covid-19 in 2020.
Looking forward to the year ahead, we expect to see the 2019 and 2021 pattern broadly replicated. Of course, we cannot predict whether a new Covid variant could cause similar disruption as in 2020.
We do expect to see a slightly different shape towards the end of the year, with the 2022 FIFA World Cup (starting 21 November) reducing the number of domestic football matches at that time, with the displaced matches squeezing in before the tournament and throughout the first half of 2023.
Simon Temple, Abelson Info COO, said: “We have seen a noticeable trend in the coverage requests received from our clients recently. Over the past six months, we have been asked to cover an increasing amount of women’s sport within both our ‘GPS’ service, which now delivers pricing for the WSL, and also through our ‘Fixtures & Results’ service, for which we have increased coverage for women’s soccer, rugby union, rugby league, handball and ice hockey globally.”