Effect of COVID-19 on sports

With states issuing stay-at-home orders and crowd limits, the sports world has come to a halt under the new guidelines.

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Alex Keepi

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had lasting effects in every industry, leading to record unemployment levels and federal stimulus packages.

Amid the chaos, the absence of sporting events due to COVID-19 has shed light on the importance of sports. At this moment in time, this nation has arguably never had a greater need for professional athletics. For the foreseeable future, sporting events will be heavily limited regarding spectators in attendance. While timetables for reopening constantly change, California Governor Gavin Newsom predicts that sports could reopen by early June. 

Newsom previously outlined a four-stage plan for reopening which includes sports without a live audience in stage three. Stage four includes sports with a live audience. California is currently transitioning toward stage three, as of press time.

Among the major professional leagues, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is in talks with its players’ union and the Walt Disney Company about resuming its season at the Orlando resort in late July. Others have voiced a much more cautious approach to reopening.

“Safety, for the player and for the fans, trumps everything,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a New York Times article.”If you can’t guarantee safety, then, unfortunately, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.” 

The absence of sports has undoubtedly taken a toll on diehard fans and the athletes themselves. However, it is important not to forget the thousands of workers that depend on professional sports. According to Forbes, ticket sales alone account for a $150 million loss for the NBA, showing the substantial economic implications that COVID-19 has brought.

Although many franchises have already vowed to pay workers their normal salaries, the number of those negatively affected are greatly outnumbered. As layoffs and pay cuts continue, the return of sports would not only ease the financial blow but raise the morale of the country.