It’s happening as we speak. A global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has taken over the entire world and is seeping into our beloved sports safe haven.
Could we be looking at the end of sports as we know it?
The NBA came out on Wednesday with an official statement to suspend the 2019-2020 NBA season until further notice while the world deals with the fast-spreading Coronavirus. Utah Jazz center, Rudy Gobert, was the first known NBA star to be diagnosed with the wildly contagious virus, sending the entire sports world into a panic.
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
So far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 900 cases of the Coronavirus confirmed in the U.S., and there will likely be more cases discovered as the week and month progresses. With the NBA suspending its season, one has to think if the MLB, NHL, MLS, or even NFL will suspend or cancel its own seasons as well to protect the players and fans alike.
The four major sports in the nation are forced with a decision that will cost them billions of dollars in the long run, but is necessary for the safety and well being of the people.
Below are the LOWEST totals of only the home attendance by each major sport from this year, or 2019 in the NFL’s case, combining the LA Chargers and Rams since they shared a city:
- Charlotte Hornets – 478,591
- New York Islanders – 448,369
- Miami Marlins – 811,302
- 2019 LA Chargers/Rams – 752,612
In total, over 2 million people attended the home games for the least attended teams in the four major sports. Imagine this on a scale if this list included the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, and the Chicago Blackhawks. The number would skyrocket if that were the case.
This measure taken by the NBA was for public safety, but how long will this last? Will it last a month? A year? Two years?
No one truly knows. If one player was exposed like Rudy Gobert was, imagine how many people he came in contact with before he was actually diagnosed? Imagine how many people THOSE people came in to contact with?
Each and every player will need to be tested, cleared by medical professionals, and then subjected to continuous testing, screening, and treatment during travel and games, if there are any. Fans won’t be allowed back to a sporting event or even a concert without the CDC coming out and officially declaring the pandemic of the Coronavirus no longer that. We’re talking hundreds or even thousands of games being played with empty stadiums or arenas.
The Seattle Mariners announced early this week that there will be no games played in Seattle due to the virus and that there were precautionary measures being taken to find another venue to play in for the time being. However, with the NBA’s decision, the MLB may be taking the same measures to protect its own fans in general. The MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS already closed the locker rooms to all “non-essential personnel” in response to the spreading virus in order to protect the athletes.
If the MLB does indeed decide to suspend the start of the 2020 season, it will be the second major sport to do so, with the NHL likely to follow suit or vice versa. The MLB has the most games of all sports in a single season, at 162 games per team, so imagine 811,000+ people attending per team for the season. That is a minimum of 24 million fans that could come into contact along with the virus that attends MLB games alone.
The NCAA also announced on Wednesday that the men’s AND women’s NCAA tournaments, or “March Madness,” will be played entirely without fans in attendance, creating what some would call, “March Quietness” instead. NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement:
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournament, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”
Breaking: NCAA president Mark Emmert has announced that all championship events, including the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, will take place with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. pic.twitter.com/wauhuBEz4K
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 11, 2020
Imagine how many flights, hotels, tickets were bought in advance to these major sporting events, and how many people won’t be attending them. Billions of dollars lost, but for the sake of the public’s health. Needless to say, 2020 has NOT been a good year, and March has not been a good month either.
The entire world is in a frenzy right now, and this sucks.
I’m just ready for a baseball season that might not even happen. We may be looking at the end of sports as we know it for the foreseeable future.
What happens to youth sports? What happens to recreational adult sports? Find out next week on DRAGON BALL Z!! Kidding, but seriously, with the Coronavirus on deck, what’s next for the sports as we know it?
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