Will The Coronavirus Impact The 2020 Kentucky Derby?

By None
Mar. 08, 2020

Governments around the globe are racing to clamp down on an ongoing coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. Officials representing governments of the United States and China have issued statements pertaining to the curtailing of the disease, though misleading misinformation and contradictory reports are confusing everyday individuals. The latest reports indicate that the coronavirus outbreak could imperil the 2020 Kentucky Derby and other major sporting events hosted in the public arena.

Will the coronavirus impact the 2020 Kentucky Derby? How might it shape the future of other forthcoming international events? Here’s a breakdown into how the coronavirus will impact forthcoming sporting eventings.

Roughly 16 million watch the Kentucky Derby

Approximately 16 million people watch the Kentucky Derby each year, while the broader economic activity generated by the famous horse race brings about $400 million into Louisville alone, according to the local Courier-Journal. Local businesses reward employees with tickets, while larger commercial operations try to woo over national and international clients by treating them to a day at the races.

That economic activity could be imperiled by the spread of the coronavirus, however. Local business officials have already hinted that the 2020 Kentucky Derby could be seriously upset by the continued spread of the coronavirus, as quarantine measures will prohibit international travel and frustrate domestic travel plans.

"If we see outbreaks widen internationally, and if we start to see isolated outbreaks within the United States, that has the ability to disrupt the Kentucky Derby, and that would be a significant hit to the Louisville economy," a chief economist at one of Kentucky’s largest banks told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

There’s thus a very real possibility that everything from local economic activity to Kentucky Derby 2020 betting will be negatively impacted by the continued spread of the coronavirus. According to the official website of the Kentucky Derby, roughly 150,000 people attend the race in person every year, demonstrating the extent of potential transmission concerns that could be motivating medical and business officials ahead of the actual race.

The threat of a virus

The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only major international sporting event to be imperiled by the continued spread of the coronavirus, either; the Tokyo Olympics are also increasingly being scrutinized as a potential mechanism for transmitting the virus, according to the Financial Times, officials from the World Health Organization are working hand in hand with Olympic organizers to ensure that the international games won’t be upended by the virus.

Unfortunately, Tokyo's geographic location renders it incredibly unlikely that local transmissions of the virus will be thwarted before the games begin, as infection rates for the latest outbreak are the most serious in Asia, where it originated.

The Tokyo Olympics have already cost Japan approximately $25 billion in expenses, leading investors and organizers to grow quite concerned over the potential economic impact of the coronavirus. Much in the same way that Louisville businesses benefit from the Kentucky Derby, Japanese companies and brands are expecting an uptick in business from the Olympics which they fear could be stymied by the contagion.