To investigate whether major televised sporting events influence the level of attendance at a pediatric emergency department or reduce subsequent surgical admissions.
A retrospective analysis of the number of emergency department attendances and subsequent surgical admissions on nights of televised Champions League soccer games, a major pan-European soccer tournament, was made. These figures were compared with paired nights with no live soccer television
In total, 2560 children and their care providers attended the emergency department between 5 PM on nights of televised Champions League soccer games and 9 AM the next morning (mean 40.0 per night, standard deviation 6.3). Out of these children, only 85 were subsequently admitted to the pediatric surgical department (mean 1.3 per night, standard deviation 1.1). There was no significant difference between these figures and the levels of attendance or admission on paired nights without a live broadcast.
We have demonstrated that the live broadcast of soccer games from a major sporting tournament does not significantly decrease emergency department workload. In addition, it does not reduce the number of children who require admission to a pediatric surgical department. This suggests that the staffing organization of a pediatric emergency department cannot be altered on the basis that a major sporting tournament is being televised.