As we approach the end of 2020, Insider Sport is looking back at the top stories from each month of what has been a turbulent year.
There were both highs and lows for both the sports and betting industries during the summer of 2020. In the world of football, competitions across the globe were well underway after months of inactivity.
In England, the positive news that the Premier League would give women’s football a much needed cash boost was overshadowed by the sad revelation that Wigan Athletic – that seven years prior had beaten top flight Manchester City in the FA Cup final – were going into administration due to the financial implications of COVID-19.
Moreover, Britain’s Sports Minister Oliver Dowden announced that ‘selected international sporting events’ would be exempt from social distancing rules. This came as a relief to many athletes and sports fans, as it meant that the Champions League, Europa League, Formula 1 Grand Prix, World Snooker Championships and PGA British Masters Championships would all be given the greenlight.
And supporters received even more good news towards the end of July, when the Prime Minister laid out plans for returning spectators to stadiums.
The House of Lords also made the headlines after publishing a report which recommended that football clubs should put an end to sponsorship deals with betting companies. Likewise, in Spain, all La Liga clubs were banned from using betting operators as sponsors under new stipulations.
In response to the House of Lords report, the English Football League (EFL) pointed to the extensive financial contribution that betting operators make to English football, particularly for its lower league clubs.
Meanwhile, the EFL agreed a partnership with Sky Sports to broadcast all non-televised matches, and the Football Association (FA) made the decision to suspend the 3pm blackout to allow all fans in lockdown to watch their teams in action.
The impact of COVID-19 continued to be felt in August. In response to financial pressures, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced a recovery plan to try and restore revenue lost during the lockdown.
News for spectators was even more positive in the US, where National Football League (NFL) teams such as the Miami Dolphins were making arrangements for fans to return to stadiums. The Miami Dolphins revealed they would be allowing up to 13,000 fans to watch the season opener.
Finally, there were notable developments in the world of esports in August 2020, as several professional football clubs looked into expanding their esports interests, including European giants FC Barcelona.