National League

MySports, owner of the TV-rights, will not accept cancellation or shortening of the playoffs.

A delicate decision has to be made soon.

Due to the expansion of the COVID-19 in Switzerland, the continuation of the 2019-20 season is at risk. For the time being, major events in the Swiss Confederation are prohibited until 15 March, but the ban could be extended. Should this be the case, there are conceivably three possibilities: canceling the playoffs, postpone their start and shortening them somehow, or playing behind closed doors from March 17.

For clubs, playing behind closed doors would be detrimental, as SC Bern's managing director Marc Lüthi tells the Berner Zeitung: "For us, playoffs without an audience would be unthinkable. Paying premiums without generating income: That would open a hole that couldn't be closed." The financial shortfall for each game played without spectators vary from club to club, but it is estimated that at least one hundred thousand francs per game would be lost.

On the contrary, the UPC-broadcaster MySports would not accept the cancellation or shortening of the playoffs. With a contract of 35 million Swiss francs a year for broadcasting rights, MySports "would like to broadcast games. Whether they're ghost games or not isn't the deciding factor."

At the moment, therefore, the clubs are pondering whether the financial loss from a ghost game is higher than the loss from the TV contract in case of cancellations. For this, talks are currently underway between league director Denis Vaucher and the TV partners, with the aim to clarify the legal questions and find a solution that ensures the survival of all the parties.

( 05 March 2020 | lle )