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Play by Play: Lululemon (NasdaqGS: LULU) and Columbia Sportswear (NasdaqGS: COLM) Close Stores in Response to COVID-19

Torque Esports (TSXV: GAME) Partners for Tournament to Raise Funds for Virus

Coronavirus Causes Sports Cancellations and Postponements, Devastating Revenue in Sports-Related Industries

Play by Play - the latest sports headlines and sports stock news

 

Point Roberts, WA and Delta, BC - March 16, 2020 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com, a leader in investor news and research issues today's edition of Play by Play covering what's new in sports headlines and recent news from publicly traded companies in the sector.

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Play by Play: Lululemon (NasdaqGS: $LULU) and Columbia Sportswear (NasdaqGS: $COLM) Close Stores in Response to COVID-19

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Stocks discussed: (NasdaqGS:LULU) (NasdaqGS:COLM) (TSXV:GAME)

Lululemon (NasdaqGS:LULU) has provided an update regarding concerns over the continuing spread of Coronavirus. The company will be closing all of its stores in North America and Europe, from March 16 to March 27, leaving online shopping as an option. Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald commented:

"We are living in uncertain times and we're learning more about this virus every day. We are taking this step to help protect our global community, guests and people, and ensure we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19

During this time, lululemon employees will continue to receive pay for all hours they have been scheduled to work and have access to lululemon's Global Pay Relief plan. I'm proud of how our teams are working to create space for our guests to connect through yoga and meditation classes online."

Columbia Sportswear Company (NasdaqGS:COLM) has also announced the closure of its brick and mortar retail stores in North America, from March 16 to 27. Tim Boyle, Chair, President and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, said:

"The health and safety of our employees, consumers and the communities where we live and work is paramount to us. During this temporary closure we are also offering catastrophic paid leave to our employees most affected by this virus in an effort to live our values of Doing the Right Thing for our employees, consumers and communities."

Torque Esports Corp. (TSXV:GAME) has announced that its esports tournament and broadcast operations group, UMG Media Ltd., has partnered with FaZe Clan to create an online Call of Duty: Warzone Pro-AM tournament, called #Fight2Dund, to raise funds for groups impacted by COVID-19. Torque Esports President and CEO, Darren Cox said

"People are starved of entertainment options at the moment and more and more are turning to live streaming of competitive gaming as part of the massively growing 'stay at home economy' that the virus outbreak has created.

As part of that streaming and gaming industry, the chance to team up with FaZe clan to make a contribution to the wider community like this is the least we can do. Everyone's lives are being dramatically impacted at the moment and it was important for Torque Esports and UMG to do our part to help and give back."

Coronavirus Causes Sports Cancellations and Postponements, Devastating Revenue in Sports-Related Industries

Apart from the increasingly tragic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on human populations in terms of hospitalization and fatalities, and its ravaging of the global economy, it is also causing cancellations and postponements of sports events throughout the world. According to a CBS report today, the NBA, NCAA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and many more have all halted or postponed seasons and events.

The NFL season has already ended, but it has announced that its 2020 draft, which is scheduled from April 23-25 in Las Vegas, will proceed as planned. However, following guidance from bodies such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the draft will no longer include public fan events in the city. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said:

"This decision reflects our foremost priority -- the health and safety of all fans and citizens. While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl."

This trend was also seen in the golf world, perhaps most notably with the postponement of the Masters, which has not been interrupted since 1943-45 when it was cancelled during WWII. ESPN quotes Fred Ridley, chairman of Masters host Augusta National Golf Club:

"We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date."

Naturally all of these cancellations and postponements do not just mean less entertainment for fans, but also represent a huge loss in revenue for the leagues, venues, and many other associated businesses. One of the most significant of these related industries is the sports betting and gambling market, which has accordingly come to a halt. An excerpt from a Sports Illustrated report on the subject reads:

In 2019 there were approximately $8.5 billion in total wagers placed on March Madness, with bets coming from about 47 million Americans. In addition to wagers on the outcomes of games, the average fan filled out four brackets with a typical entry of around $30. Last March, New Jersey gaming operators brought in nearly $32 million during March Madness, according to the American Gaming Association. Nevada sportsbooks typically handle $500 million a month on sports betting.

Additionally, many major esports events have been cancelled as well.

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