A new season, new clubs, new stadia, new supporter optimism, new match ball design and a new(ish) Gary Neville returning to TV punditry after a sabbatical in Spanish football management.
It can only mean one thing… the return of the English Premier League.
The media is ready. Hundreds of thousands of supporters who will attend one of 10 Premier League stadia this weekend are ready. And millions (if not billions) more across the globe who will tune into live TV games or match highlights are also ready.
So why does the start of this season feel different to others?
If you are interested in the financial merry-go-round of the English game you’ll probably say the decision by the Premier League to ‘take a year out’ with no main sponsor following the Barclays Bank decision to end their 12 year involvement with the league is one significant difference.
A much more sobering difference to this time last year are the events of terrorism that have been taking place across Europe, leading to many questioning whether the Euro 2016 Championships should have even taken place. Of course a cancellation of the tournament was never going to happen, but security and the risks that exist during mass gatherings including high profile sporting events have never been more in the spotlight.
The events at last seasons postponed Premier League fixture between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford were a stark reminder of the threat that exists.
Thankfully no injuries or damage occurred, with the Greater Manchester Police confirming the device that caused the postponement turned out to be a ‘fake bomb’ used in planned explosives training exercise days before the game.
The decision to evacuate the stadium and postpone the game was undoubtedly the correct one with the safety of spectators being the primary concern. Soon after the media attention ended, a story that received little coverage was the focus moving very quickly to accountability, possible legal implications and potential cost recovery and compensation for the postponed event. Could it happen again?
We now live in a world of instant news and a heightened awareness of the threats that exist, where a mislaid or forgotten bag in the corner of a room could lead to the evacuation of over 70,000 people and the cancelation of an entire event. So in the current climate, you would find it difficult to convince people that the events at Old Trafford last season was a ‘one off’ and likely never to occur again.
Troy Johnson, a Director with specialist event insurance experience at Griffiths & Armour, provides some interesting thoughts on how insurance cover (or the lack of it) may have a significant impact on the parties involved in such a scenario.
“Major events like a Premier League match or the Euro 2016 Championships over the summer are enormously lucrative both financially and in terms of brand image to a number of parties, not just the teams involved or the organisers. Sponsors, advertisers, broadcasters and merchandisers usually invest significant sums into the successful running of an event and therefore they should always consider protecting their financial investment against the event not taking place”.
He added, “A great example of where the right insurance cover protected a major event was during the organisation of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) which took place taking in New Zealand (NZ). Following a series of devastating earthquakes four weeks before the start of the tournament, serious damage was inflicted on the Christchurch infrastructure including stadia, hotels and transport links, resulting in fixtures being moved to alternative venues. Diligent planning resulted in RWC organisers in NZ taking out contingency insurance, which at the time was considered a fairly inactive area in terms of risk – it was certainly a wake-up call for many.
The RWC organisers worked closely with insurers and loss adjusters to ensure that the event progressed without any hitches. However other parties with a financial exposure, such as hoteliers, may not have been as fortunate as they might not have considered their exposure to such a remote risk”.
Whilst the circumstances surrounding the RWC and Manchester United events differ in size and scale, there are many similarities in relation to the disruption that was caused. These issues can arise for any event organiser or organisation with financial exposure to events or exhibitions, no matter what industry they may be in.
For example, let’s say an exhibition hall is destroyed by fire. All companies involved will either lose their financial investment or, if the event is rescheduled or relocated, additional costs would be incurred. This exposure is catered for should the company take out contingency cover.
At Griffiths & Armour we have a specialist division servicing the contingency market to assist with any enquiries you may have. Please contact Troy Johnson for more details either by phone 0161 817 4450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.