Professional Sports Reactions to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Written By Carson Schramm

Sports are one of the most prominent and important features of the modern entertainment industry. The almost universal appeal of the competition means that millions of people tune in to watch or listen to sporting events around the world. Life wouldn’t be the same without broadcasted sporting events. But COVID-19 has completely changed any and all plans, turning the industry upside down. 

Spring is a time dominated by basketball. March Madness is one of the most popular and widely watched tournament sporting events of the year; even if you aren’t a fan of basketball, you have probably filled out a bracket before. The NBA and the NCAA are very important to a lot of people in the United States. On Thursday, Mar. 12, the NBA ground to a halt, suspending games indefinitely. The tipping point in closing the league was when the Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-10 on Mar. 11. For many people, this was one of the first real effects of the coronavirus.

The NFL was lucky enough to play it’s last game of the 2019-2020 season before COVID-19 became a global pandemic, but the future is still uncertain. As of now, the league plans to start on time in the fall but that may not be feasible if a vaccine is not yet created. However, another football league, the XFL, was in the middle of its first season. It was already starting in a difficult place, and the cancellation of the season has put the league in an even worse place financially. The league has fired most of its staff and has become a shell of what looked to be a promising advancement toward a secondary and possibly minor football league. The XFL returning is very unlikely. 

On Mar. 12, the NHL closed its doors, ending its regular season without continuing onto the Stanley Cup Finals. The closing is not permanent but there has been no information on when or how the sport will return. Considering the state of other sports, we could see hockey gone for the season. For college hockey, however, the season was completely cancelled. It was the only decision that could have been made, but it still is a shame. 

Soccer is a very important sport internationally, which means there isn’t just one league that is to be reopening. With the different restrictions that countries have, there is not one consensus or date on the return of the sport. Some leagues plan to open fairly early in May, but it’s unlikely that it could go through. 

The 2020 season of Major League Baseball has been delayed with no real word on when it is coming back. With baseball being one of the biggest sports in the United States, this is a big deal. The delay does not have any real end date and we could see a shorter or canceled MLB season if there aren’t improvements to the COVID-19 situation. 

The Olympics are universally loved and important to many countries. The ability of so many countries to come together is a big deal for everyone. Athletes have trained for their entire lives for a chance at winning on a world stage and, now, all their training doesn’t have a certain future. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed a full year, which is completely unprecedented. There really is no sure knowledge on what the world will look like next year. Will there be a vaccine? Can crowds safely gather? No one really knows, so the future for the athletes and the organizers is uncertain. 

In the short term, sports are not doing so well; however, the future’s not set in stone, and we could see a return of many of the best sports we all know and love. As of now, the 2021 Olympics are set to be a great event. In the meantime, sports entertainment still exists in the form of smaller-scale and more obscure events that deserve a spotlight. If you weren’t a fan of axe throwing or cornhole, this might be the time to become one. If you still miss baseball, you can watch the Korean league, which is continuing despite the pandemic. At the end of the day, all hope is not lost and there are plenty of alternatives to watch while you wait for the return of your favorite sports.