• 06 August 2021

The world’s biggest sporting event is back, and while it’s eery to watch without fans, I think we’re all catching Olympic fever already.

Insuring the globe’s biggest event

The Olympics are well and truly underway and isn’t it amazing to see the world come together in Tokyo to compete in a host of sports that so many of us are rarely exposed to but for this special fortnight every four years. 

Of course, the absence of fans is notable and jarring, but so far it hasn’t distracted from some amazing storylines, incredible achievements, and drama of the highest order.

The Olympics is an incredibly unique event, and with it brings a unique set of insurance requirements. We won’t go into those here, but you can read our lowdown of the myriad journey that is insurance and Olympics in our latest insights, HERE.

One Hundred Balls

While the return of the Olympics is a friendly reminder of the oldest and more traditional sports out there, the UK has seen a brand-new event emerge over the last week. 

The Hundred, a first-of-its-kind 100-ball cricket competition that has brought the world’s best players together for an excitement-driven, family-friendly and gender equal celebration of sixes, fours and wickets, kicked off in style as the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals faced off in London for the chance to make history as the tournament’s first ever victors.

The Invincibles won in both the women’s and men’s fixture, and the showcase whet the appetite of what promises to be an exhilarating innovation in English cricket. 

But the competition itself hasn’t been without risk.

Originally conceived for launch in 2020, those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic, but long before then the concept looked in peril. It was long criticised by traditionalists of the game, and at a time looked to be struggling for commercial partners and sentimental support. 

Over the last three years, however, the ECB have worked tirelessly to change both fortunes and perceptions, and the launch would’ve come as a huge relief to those who have staked a lot on its success. 

Thankfully, it has got off to a storming start, and both fans and players alike are clearly fully engaged. A far cry from nervy beginnings, but the Hundred looks set to stay, and with it much of the risk extinguished.

Aus & NZ Say No To RLWC2021

Over in the world of rugby, we saw the return on the British & Irish Lions union side for an enthralling first test against the Springboks. Again, played without crowds, but with all the intensity and ferocity that we’ve come to associate with a Lions tour. 

In league, however, the story has been less favourable.

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 was fast approaching – set to be held in the UK for the first time since 2013 – and organisers across the country have been busy putting the final touches to logistic plans and fan engagement. 

The team have been heralded for fantastic ticket sales, while brilliant work has been done in engaging the next generation of children, as well as those from disadvantaged backgrounds, into the game. 

It truly has been billed as a generational event.

All of this, however, has been put on hold as the titans of Australia and New Zealand announced – at short notice – they wouldn’t be attending the event anymore, leading in turn to organisers deciding to postpone the event until 2022.

The risk implications are immense. 

With the tournament itself shifting, games require rearrangement, thousands of contracts need amending, and tickets need retaining, changing, or worse. There is likely to be considerable lost revenue as tickets are returned and refunded, cash flows will need drastic adjustment and we’re yet to know the negative effect on the community programmes and initiative’s that are already underway.

An uncertain future now lies ahead for a tournament that was set to be so promising – and as with any client – it’s critical the organisation is insured against all possible risks. 

We’ll wait to see on that front, and hopefully our next Notebook will come with more positive news, but RLWC2021 a timely reminder of the myriad risks any event might face, especially at the moment.