17 June 2020

1. Obtaining a permit

At Ice-World we do not have a crystal ball to see how the post Covid-19 world will develop in the next few months nor do we know what kind of events will be permitted around the world next winter season.

However, we do know a few things about ice rinks, and we have looked into the research of Covid-19 transmission risks and the likelihood of developing the disease.

The good news is:

  • Covid-19 transmissions in the open air, where people are socially distancing are very unlikely. As widely reported, some research demonstrates this, and we expect more studies further proving this point in the next months. Ice rinks in temporary structures such as marquees or inside buildings should make sure the space is very well ventilated.
  • Seasonal ice rinks are mainly frequented by children, families and young adults, all low risk groups. Nearly all children and young adults suffer no or only mild symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Ice skating is a sport and therefore good for health and ice skating is one of the few sports practiced outdoors in winter. Physical activity helps build up resistance against infections and improves lung capacity. In most countries, individual sport activities, though limited, were allowed, even during lockdown.
  • Ice skating is a non-contact sport.
  • Seasonal ice rinks offer a fun activity and low entry barrier to a healthy lifestyle. The health benefits are larger than the risk of infection.

These factors will play a major role in local and national government’s assessment of whether to allow certain type of activities and events.

In addition to above factors we recommend a few new rules for ice rink events to reduce any risk of transmission even further.

We will keep monitoring the situation in our main markets very closely and update you regularly on the situation.

  • If you have any particular questions in relation to obtaining a permit or encounter challenges with the (local) authorities, please contact us for further support.

2. Financing your ice skating event

Most seasonal ice rinks projects earn money through various sources: selling entry tickets, hiring skates and skating aids, organising special events on and off the ice, selling food and drinks next to the ice rink, offering packages to sponsors and sometimes receiving support in forms of subsidies from local councils or foundations that promote sport or health activities.

In the post Covid-19 world it might be more challenging to refinance the investment in the ice rink project than it has been in recent years. The maximum capacity might need to be reduced, sponsors and councils might be less willing to support the ice rink project. This asks for a more creative and proactive approach to financing.

  • Presell entry tickets via online ticket platforms. This has a number of advantages: Cash flow in advance of the project, easier crowd managing by selling tickets for certain slots, opportunity to offer special deals (group, family, early-bird)
  • Crowdfund the event. A good crowdfunding campaign can create lots of publicity for your event and be the test for the feasibility. If you know that e.g. 5.000 people are supporting your event for €5. Reaching substantial local support will also help you to convince the sponsors and the council (see below).
  • Analyse the event you held in recent years. What worked financially, what did not? Did you ever reach the maximum capacity, or could you go for a smaller rink? Should you go for a bigger rink to ensure you can host the same number of skaters during shifts but shorten the event period by a week or two to save on operating costs? Do you need to increase the space for food and beverage? Diversify the attractions you offer? Attract groups such as schools or older skaters during the quiet weekday times?
  • Look for new sponsors. Depending on your country and local situation there are quite a few companies that profited from the lockdown and might want to give back to the community. Think for example of ecommerce, delivery companies, groceries, medical supply, sport equipment, garden centres. Other sectors such as retail need to do something to attract the customers back. Bigger retailers and shopping malls will invest in publicity.
  • Ask your council. Situation for public finances will not be easy, but councils might still want to support you e.g. in exchange for free skating for schools in the morning. City marketing might want to promote the city centre and its retail, especially now.
  • Look for private or public foundations or companies that promote health and wellbeing or sport activities. These could, for example, be health insurance companies, lotteries, and private foundations with the goal to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Above are a few options to finance your project in new ways. As Ice-World we understand that every project and every local situation is different.

Please contact us for customized advice as well as for details on our special Ice-World Covid-19 insurance that we’ve introduced to minimize your financial risks.

Disclaimer: Above rules are only recommendations by Ice-World. All ice rink operators must check and comply with the local rules and regulations that apply to their event.

  • The Covid-19 measures ask for a more creative and proactive approach to financing.