Impact of the coronavirus outbreak on TV sports viewers in Sweden 2020-2021

After the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, the reach of TV sports channels significantly declined in Sweden due to sports events cancellations and postponements. While 99,000 people watched broadcasts on the TV station Eurosport at the end of February 2020, the number of daily viewers of this channel amounted to only 28,000 two months later. A similar development can be observed for the Swedish TV channel Sportkanalen, which recorded a drop of about 80,000 daily viewers during the same period. In May, the number of daily viewers of the TV sports stations slightly grew again or remained stable. From June 1 on, more and more people were watching sports TV stations in Sweden again and in the second half of the year, the viewership of Eurosport, Eurosport 2 Sweden, and Sportkanalen were even on the same level as before the outbreak.

What did Swedes watch instead?

In contrast to the development of the sports channels’ viewership, the reach of television news broadcasts in Sweden considerably increased after the coronavirus outbreak. In total, the first week of March 2020 saw a 29 percent growth in the reach of TV news programs compared to the same period of the previous year. And in mid-March, over half of the population watched TV news more often than a year ago. Among people aged 15 to 49 years, the reach even increased by 80 percent.

Cancellation of sporting events worldwide

The coronavirus pandemic had a main impact on major sporting events. Amongst others, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were postponed to 2021. The estimated economical loss of the postponement amounted to over 640 billion Japanese yen. Additionally, European football leagues suspended their seasons. Broadcasting companies, in particular, have lost a lot of their potential income. To give an example, in March 2020, they estimated their revenue loss to approximately 800 million euros due to postponements or cancellations of the English Premier League’s matches.

Number of daily viewers of selected television stations for sports after the coronavirus outbreak in Sweden from week 9 of 2020 to 2 of 2021

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Release date

January 2021



Survey time period

Week 9, 2020 to 2, 2021

Supplementary notes

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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