As a result of the massive impact the Coronavirus has had on the world, all sporting events have been postponed or cancelled. Beginning on March 11th, professional sports around the world began shutting down. Leagues however have decided to begin reorganizing their teams, and as a result have put a few changes into place. One of the universal terms is that spectators will not be allowed to attend the games in person, as the massive influx of people would lead to increased COVID-19 numbers. As health becomes a number one priority for all teams, leagues hope to begin play soon.
All professional soccer leagues have postponed their seasons, with many leagues planning to return mid June. Many teams have begun optional training again, as they want to allow players to train, while those who fear for the virus have the ability to stay at home. One of the first and most notable leagues to be shut down was the German Bundesliga, which saw its season rescheduled to April 2nd. They are notable because they were the first league to reopen amidst the pandemic, and have been pretty successful in keeping their players and staff safe. While there have been some reported cases, specifically 10 who were infected mid May, there hasn’t been
The French Open has rescheduled from May until September 20th. This was due to the timing, as the French Open is the earliest league in the year. Wimbledon however, which was originally planned for late June ending in mid July, has been canceled. This is the first time Wimbledon has been canceled since World War II, having been started in 1877. The US Open however has received no change to its starting date, which is planned to begin on August 24th and continue to September 13th.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been pushed back a year as a result of Coronavirus fear. This is a strange occurrence, as the only time the Olympics date has been affected was during WWI and WWII, which saw the Olympics canceled. This is the first time the date has been changed. They will still be held in Tokyo. The Paralympics will receive the same treatment, as they will be pushed back a year as well.
The MLB situation is a bit more complicated. There is still no decision on reorganization, as players and management are arguing over pay. The league is trying to discuss the reorganization of the league, having a 76 game season starting in July, ending late September. However, this is where it becomes complicated, as they are proposing that players only receive 75% of their pay. This has rubbed many players the wrong way, as they are shooting for full pay, feeling it is unfair to expect them to play during this without full compensation. Negotiations are continuing to proceed, as they are yet to come to an agreement.
The NFL has received no change in their schedule or pay. However, there are continued discussions of safety and whether or not there should be any changes to the league. While still in the air, the league hopes to stick to its original schedule.
Having suspended the season on March 11th, the NBA hopes to reorganize in late July. The terms for the NBA however seem a bit more lavish for players, as they will be playing out their season at Disney World. All 22 teams will stay at the resort, with games being played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is being done in order to limit the amount of contact players have with others, as there is always a risk of a player contracting the virus and spreading it within the league. Players will be screened daily for the virus, as an extra precaution to prevent the spread of the disease. Play will resume July 31st, with hopes of continuing until October. The WNBA hopes to follow the NBA’s footsteps, as they hope to reorganize in July and play in an isolated environment, likely being the I.M.G Academy in Bradenton Florida.
All NCAA sports have been cancelled with the exception of Football, which is being planned for the Fall. The league is trying to allow practice as early as July 6th, which allows the teams ample time to prepare for the August 29th kickoff. They will also be extending the Spring season, so that players who missed out on this season will be able to play again when it is safe. Extending eligibility will allow players to finish off their college sports careers, allowing them a fair chance for future play.
Having reopened their training facilities on the 8th, the NHL hopes to resume their season that came to a halt on March 12th. However, while many teams have resumed their training, there are others who haven’t, for a few different reasons. Whether it is the players having left the respective city, losing the ability to play due to Covid restrictions, or the rinks being unprepared due to the loss of maintenance during the pandemic. The league hopes to begin a 24 team season some time in July.
Following in the footsteps of other sports, the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) canceled their tournament on March 12th, with a hope to resume the competition August 6th. Originally planned for April 9th, the Masters Tournament was postponed to November 12th. The U.S Open has also been rescheduled, with the original start being June 18th, changing to September 17th.
The impact professional sports has however isn’t strictly entertainment, as it is a multi billion dollar industry. Gillette stadium alone, located in Foxborough and home of the New England patriots as well as the New England Revolution employs approximately 5,000 staff workers in its stadium. Those 5,000 people are now out of a job. Not only are stadium workers being affected, but businesses such as sports bars and sports outlets are being hit hard. These businesses capitalize on the broadcast of games and creating an environment, and even though people are currently unable to go to these places, they will continue to be affected until these sports start up again.
Hopefully, within the next few months, sports are able to safely reopen in a way that both respects the players safety worries as well as the staff members. These teams have multiple billions of dollars, so hopefully they are willing to see a not so profitable year to keep their employees safe and fed.