28 Apr

One of the world’s biggest LIVE sports production company and the International Cricket Council’s(ICC) production partners Sunset + Vine has furloughed around 77% of its full-time workforce at it struggles to shield the business from the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown.

According to a report published in the UK based Sports Business news portal, the company has furloughed around 100 of the 130 full-time employees. The employees will take a leave of absence but remain on the company’s payroll.

Speaking to SportBusiness, Sunset+Vine chairman Jeff Foulser said: “Like everyone else we just fell off a cliff the moment the [UK] Prime Minister announced that people should stay at home and implement social distancing. We went from loads of outside broadcasts happening in the middle of March to nothing. It’s been dramatic.

“We’ve got a plan that now keeps us going until at least September and beyond.”

Foulser (pictured) added: “I don’t think everyone is going to be in the same position and a lot of smaller [production] companies will find it very difficult to get through this.”

Freelancers have been paid for the work already done, Foulser said and added, “We [usually] employ hundreds of freelancers every week and we can’t pay them for work they’re not doing. We’ve got to try and protect our staff and business first and keep the business going. “When we do get going then we’ll be delighted to welcome the freelancers back and start paying them. Sadly we can’t pay them all as well, it’s just impossible. We’ll do what we can to help but it’s not easy.”

The UK based company is also the long-term production partner for all ICC events since 2015. Sunset + Vine is also entrusted to produce the men’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia (scheduled for October 18 to November 15 2020) and despite the current issues, company is hopeful of being able to carry out its host broadcast duties to fulfil one of its more lucrative contracts.

Ahead of the lockdown, Sunset+Vine produced some UEFA Europa League matches without fans for BT, including Manchester United’s win in Austria over LASK Linz. The shouts of the players – including the swearing – were very audible in an atmosphere more akin to a training game.

Foulser predicted: “We’re going to have an issue when we go back to live sport in terms of whether it will be in empty stadiums or if crowds will be allowed in. Our view is that there won’t be crowds in stadiums for some time but there will be live sport.

John Stephenson


* The email will not be published on the website.