Anyone who visits the UEFA website will be surprised to find that quite a few tickets are left for the first round of Euro games that opened on Friday, although occupancy in most stadiums has been severely limited due to the Corona virus. Prices are very reasonable in terms of such a big event. For Portugal, which will be held in Budapest, tickets are on sale for 75 euros, nothing compares to the usual days when travel companies and speculators celebrate desperate fans.

Demand is on the floor, and the event that marks Europe’s return to routine is still having a hard time getting fans out of the houses. The reason is clear – a football celebration can not be perfect when you have to pass tests and present certificates on the way. Seating in stadiums is under restrictions and in any case will be done in most cases in an empty 3/4 stadium. Not for that people will pay.

For UEFA the economic damage due to the lack of fans is marginal. The main thing for her to get the event off the ground. The business model of European football, which in the past was based mainly on revenue from ticket sales and subscriptions, has long relied on broadcasting and television rights money.

UEFA, which runs the Euro tournament, made this imbalance extreme. Already 17 years ago, at Euro 2004 in Portugal it became clear that the place of the fans is economically negligible and constitutes only 9% of the total revenue (123 million Swiss francs, out of a total income of 1.3 Billion francs.) Even then, television accounted for 66% of revenue.

The decor is everything

And it will not be very different in the current euro. The marginal share of audience revenue will be further cut. But television will be there to complete and the damage to UEFA will be only minor. In the last full season before the virus (2018/19) UEFA’s revenue share from ticket sales was only 1.3% of its total revenue.

If those fans are a financially insignificant factor, then what is their role today?

Their position today is in the visibility they produce for TV viewers. They are the scenery. Those that make the experience of watching at home optimal. In the Corona year the TV channels that broadcast the various leagues demanded a reduction in the prices they pay on the grounds that the event is not the one for which they paid so much. Some of the channels did receive refunds and reductions due to this claim.

Once it became clear that the Euro would take place with an audience, the TV production responsible for each country to broadcast the games was required by UEFA to make adjustments so that the viewing experience at home would not be compromised. We will see a lot of close-ups on individual fans Avoid shooting as much as possible at angles where you see no-spectators in the stands.In addition, the viewing angles have been adjusted so that in most pitches the stands will be less visible and more the grass area, and fans will sit in most stadiums only at the bottom to give a certain density and normalcy to the stands.

Israel also benefits

The thought of not holding an event at all is out of the question. Economically UEFA builds its budget in a four-year cycle. It allows itself to present an equal or even deficit budget for three years, but in the Euro season UEFA fills the reserves and reserves. Taking as an example the last euro in 2016, UEFA brought in 4.6 billion euros that season. In the three seasons preceding the euro, the average annual income was 1.8 billion euros.

Apart from the reorganization of its reserves, which are defined as “money for an unexpected crisis”, this money is intended to return to football, including for those who do not participate in the celebration of the euro – such as Israel for example. Every year, UEFA donates money to support the continent’s 55 football associations. It defines some of the money as one that is committed to being invested in infrastructure, such as pitches, etc.

The money raised was used by the UEFA for assistance during the corona – in April 2020, when it was already clear that football was about to take a severe economic blow, the organization announced a transfer of 236 million euros to all 55 of its associations. Each association received 4.3 million euros They have to go through the difficult attack on the way. “

As mentioned, the Israeli national team will not participate in the Euros, but its existence is very important to the Israeli Football Association. In the last four years, according to UEFA’s annual reports, the Israeli association has received 8.7 million euros for being part of the European football family.

NIS 35 million in four years for not being successful serially sounds like a good arrangement.

The troubles of the Tokyo Games

While the Euros are set off quite solemnly and with crowds, the Tokyo Olympics, which begin two weeks after the end of the European Football Tournament (July 23), seem like a huge headache that has no solution at the moment. Japan, which postponed the games scheduled for summer 2020, has reached the moment of truth when it is not ready – as of June 8, only 3.8% of the population is fully vaccinated (two vaccines), and is one of the most backward countries in the world in terms of vaccination rate.

In this situation, there is nothing to talk about an audience coming from abroad. Olympic Games, certainly in Japan, need to be organized long in advance – and in light of the uncertainty, it is difficult to see fans from Europe or the Americas deciding at the last minute to fly to the end of the world. Officials can not sign now, 43 days before the start of the Games, that they will be held. ‘

No one is talking about a celebration anymore. Athletes are also speaking out against appearing at Tokyo’s ‘sad’ event – Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic said a week ago that he would come to the Japanese capital only if he played in front of an audience.

Japan’s only interest is pressure to hold the games mainly because the money invested in them is unprecedented, and already the whole thing has flowed out. According to the Los Angeles Times, when Japan hosted the Games in 2013, it set a budget of $ 7.3 billion. Since then, according to the Times, games are estimated to have skyrocketed to $ 24-26 billion. By comparison, the 2028 Los Angeles Games are currently valued at just $ 6.9 billion.

To minimize the damage there is no other way but to hold the games. The TV will pay, the sponsors will pay – there may be reductions here and there, but for the organizers these games will be held and return a significant part of the investment.

By Editor

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