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Wanda Sports Group reports that Coronavirus could have “adverse impact” on business

Ironman has reported to the SEC that the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak could lead to the cancellation of more events and a decline in registration numbers.

In a filing sent to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) last Friday, WSG, the company that owns Ironman, warns that the Coronavirus “could adversely affect our Mass Participation as well as our Spectator Sports and DPSS segments, and that adverse effect could be material.”

Last month we reported that Ironman was speaking with potential buyers, but those negotiations have no-doubt been hampered by the coronavirus outrbreak. Ironman implied that things were very much up in the air on a business front based on a report it filed to the SEC last week.

Read the filing

The report cites cancellation or postponement of WSG events in China, Taiwan and the Philippines, and says that the company expects to have to cancel other events as well. It also points out that many events in Europe have either been postponed, or are taking place without fans in attendance, and points out that “it currently is unclear whether summer events, such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, may be postponed, cancelled or otherwise disrupted. Postponement or cancellation of test or qualifying events, as well as disruptions to training schedules for athletes and event volunteers, could adversely affect the timing and quality of events scheduled to be held months in the future.”

“Our mass participation sports events that are not cancelled or postponed may experience reduced rates of athlete and fan attendance due to reduced interest (out of fear of being infected or quarantined, or in anticipation of cancelations or postponements) or ability to attend (due to travel bans, flight cancellations, quarantines or other travel interruptions),” the report says. “To date, we have seen in the first quarter of 2020 registrations for our mass participations sports events in China and the surrounding region decline.  If the spread of the coronavirus continues, we expect we will see registrations for our mass participation sports events drop further in the second quarter of 2020, which could have a material adverse effect on results of operations in our Mass Participation segment.”
“With respect to our spectator sports and DPSS operations, restrictions on travel and attendance at large public gatherings, and potentially cancellations of large public gatherings, will disrupt our business and we are likely to  experience a decrease in revenues relating to sports events to which we hold commercial rights or which we organize,” the report continues. “Even if governments do not mandate cancellations of large events, events may nonetheless be voluntarily cancelled due to concerns that attendance will drop significantly, whether out of fear of exposure to infection, travel restrictions or other related uncertainties.”

Upcoming Ironman events

On the Ironman calendar for March are races in Mexico (Ironman 70.3 Campeche) and Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico this weekend, along with an Olympic-distance (5150) race in Coronado California. On March 29 Uraguay is supposed to host Ironman 70.3 Punta del Este and Port Elizabeth, South Africa is to host the Ironman African Championship.
Please note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ironman events had been cancelled in China, Taiwan and the Philippines. While there are some WSG events that have been cancelled in the region, no Ironman events have been cancelled, but some have been postponed.