The coronavirus pandemic that has shook the world in recent weeks has had a huge impact on the sports industry. Competitions across different countries and different sports have come to a standstill, and we’ve even seen the postponement of the likes of this summer’s Olympic Games in Japan and Euro 2020.

To find out more about how the sports industry is being affected, we spoke to a number of our graduates working around the world to see how much impact the crisis is having on their work on a day-to-day basis. Here, we speak to Sean Elderbrant, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Media graduate, who now works as a Digital Media Executive at the Scottish Professional Football League…

In the current climate sport has almost come to a standstill for the first time since WW2. What has been the direct effect on your job and what you do?

Due to the effects of COVID-19, like many others, all SPFL staff members have been forced to work from home under the current lockdown situation that we are facing. While the situation isn't ideal, I've been able to adapt and keep working to create and produce content for our various digital platforms.

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Working for a governing body like the SPFL comes with big responsibility. What has been the thinking behind the digital coverage you’ve published over the last few weeks?

Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, one of the main roles of the SPFL's digital team has been to keep Scottish football fans informed on the latest updates and the implications that those updates have on our game. As well as this, while there hasn't been any current football to talk about, we've delved deeper into our archives to dig out more and more 'On This Day' content from seasons gone by. We've had the opportunity to show some classic full matches 'as live' on a Saturday afternoon on our YouTube channel. We've worked in conjunction with the Scotland National Team and The Scottish Cup's digital teams so that we each show a full 90-minute game at a different time across a Saturday afternoon. We feel that this allows people a sense of normality in these uncertain times, allowing fans to still get their fix of Scottish football at the weekend.

What has the reaction been like in Scotland to the football season coming to a standstill? What kind of messages do you have to consider as the governing body to ensure supporters stay safe and at home?

It has been difficult here, as I'm sure it has everywhere, to see the football season come to a halt. With the season building towards its climax everyone was excited about the run-in, but sometimes things happen that are out of anyone's control. The safety and wellbeing of staff, supporters and players is paramount. One of the main things for us as an organisation has been to echo the messages that the government have put out into the public domain, which are to stay safe and stay at home.

Sean works at the famous Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Do you think football and sport has an important role to play in the current climate to emphasise the message to the public about safety?

I think that everyone has an important role. But, with the power of social media and the influential role that clubs and players have on the lives of fans, I think that it’s very important that people use their platforms for the greater good. I know that a number of clubs and players have put out some good bits of video content which get the message across to stay at home and save lives.

What was the immediate reaction of yourself, colleagues and organisation when the news broke that firstly, sport was effectively coming to a stop, and secondly, that working from home was essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals?

My immediate reaction was one of shock, but also realising: "Right, this is serious”. I found it hard to believe initially that something could bring the footballing world to a halt. But, I know that in this current climate, football has to take a back seat. We all love football and miss going to the games on a Saturday, as well as, for me, talking about and producing football content on a daily basis. But, while we're all missing it, football will come back. There will be a next season, when that will be is unclear at the moment, but for now, health and wellbeing comes first.

If you are working from home, how are you organising your day and what would you recommend to others in a similar situation who are maybe struggling not being in their usual work environment?

I personally struggle to be as productive as I would be in the office when I'm working from home. But, there are a few things that can definitely help. Firstly, trying to keep a good, positive routine and sleeping pattern. While it can be good fun staying up late at night watching Netflix or playing Call of Duty, getting a good night’s rest and waking up at a reasonable time is one of the keys to keeping yourself as motivated and productive as possible. Also, make a to-do list; write down everything that you'd like to achieve in that day. Then, tick things off as you go along. I find myself feeling a lot more fulfilled and mentally positive this way. Try to go for a wee walk at some point as well. Just fire your earphones in, listen to some music and go for a wander. The fresh air will do you the world of good. 

What impact do you think football and sport will have on people when things hopefully return to normal in the coming months, and do you think it can be a positive one?

I think football, sport and all forms of entertainment will play a massive role in people’s lives. I think that, because people have been deprived of these things that we all love, the demand will be so high and the hype levels will be even greater. I think that while people are worried and concerned at the moment, football gives people a light at the end of the tunnel. Football has always been something that has united people, so I think that once we are able to get back to playing and watching football on a weekly basis, it will be something that we all appreciate that little bit more.