'Delayed', 'postponed,' 'cancelled' (delete as appropriate).
The three words that have come to haunt event organisers, sponsors and broadcasters in 2020.
News of a coronavirus-enforced effect on the global sporting calendar first appeared on Sportcal's pages in late January 2020 when the international sports broadcasting giant ESPN announced that its inaugural X Games winter event in Chongli, China had been postponed due to concerns over the outbreak of a virus that has come to have an utterly devastating impact on all walks of society.
Since that day, Sportcal has published close to 2,500 news articles on Covid-19 and it's growing hold over the sports industry.
In the early months of 2020, for many international federations and leagues, those delays turned first into postponements and then, as the health situation deteriorated worldwide, into cancellations altogether.
All of this means 2021 and 2022 are going to be bonus years for spectators (in-venue ones, hopefully) and logistical nightmares for cities, brands and media outlets, as they look to maximise budgets and prioritise accordingly.
In this issue we take a deep dive into the knock-on effect of a barren 2020 for major sports events.
This year has emphasised the need for media outlets to be able to quickly pivot in a bid to retain customers. Whether it's archive 'watch-alongs', classic matches or docuseries, never has a non-live content plan been more necessary.
And if you cannot reach your fans through live sport being streamed into their homes, then you need to find another way. Fan engagement tools have exploded in 2020 as the industry strives for new ways to generate much-needed revenue.
Elsewhere, we speak to Sportfive's Ron Wiegand, one of the key movers and shakers in the global kit and athlete partnerships sector, about why elite brands are adopting a player-first, club-second spending strategy.
Enjoy the holiday season, stay safe and roll on 2021.
Jonathan Rest, editor