COVID-19 began cutting a swathe across the global sports events calendar, with the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo postponed until next year.
It was decided that the Games must be rescheduled to a date “beyond 2020” but not later than the summer of 2021. The Games will still be called Tokyo 2020, with new dates of July 23 to August 8 settled on for the Olympics.
Football’s governing bodies in Europe and South America decided to postpone this year’s scheduled continental championships, Euro 2020 and the Copa America, by a year due to the pandemic. Organisers of this year’s French Open said the modernisation of the Roland Garros site – which included the installation of a roof on the main Court Philippe Chatrier – enabled the grand slam tennis event to be rescheduled to the autumn, eventually playing out from September 27 to October 11.
Manchester’s AO Arena was also at the centre of the news. Hasham Abedi, the younger brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi, was found guilty of murdering 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at the venue on May 22, 2017. Days earlier, an early-stage redevelopment vision was unveiled for the venue that would expand its overall capacity to 24,000.
In other project news, National Rugby League (NRL) club North Queensland Cowboys christened its new Queensland Country Bank Stadium, with the opening match against Brisbane Broncos having been in doubt just hours before kick-off due to COVID-19. Plans to build a new 25,000-seat stadium in Christchurch were given a boost after the government approved NZ$220m in funding from the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Fund (CRAF) for the project.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Paris 2024’s innovative plan to showcase urban sports at the Olympic Games at an arena developed on the Place de la Concorde. Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer sealed a $400m deal to acquire The Forum, furthering the NBA team’s claims to deliver a new arena and removing the obstacle of legal action from Madison Square Garden Company.
In sponsorship news, Finnish technology company UROS acquired naming rights to the under-construction Tampere Deck Arena in a 10-year deal. Turkish Süper Lig football club Galatasaray extended an agreement with Türk Telekom for naming rights to its home stadium.