With the novel coronavirus quickly spreading to all parts of the world and over 210 countries, the international sports industry has come to a halt. Almost all sporting events, big or small, have been postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with governments around the world going through the virus’ seasonal nature and opening businesses up again, how is the sports industry picking its pace up?
As of June, Wimbledon, the British Open Championships, as well as the N.C.A.A have all been cancelled.
All other big major sporting championships such as the N.B.A, the PGA, the Masters, the Olympics, the Summer Olympics, the Kentucky Derby, the U.S. Open Golf, the N.H.L, the Champions League, and more… have all been postponed.
Only the N.F.L and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships have remained unaffected.
Let’s take a look at the variety of different sports and see how they’re holding up in this continuously reopening world.
The National Football League (N.F.L) is one of the few parts of the sports industry that has actually benefited from the new and revised calendar. The first season game is scheduled to take place on the 10th of September, and fans believe that the world will have handled the pandemic by then.
The N.F.L draft was scheduled and held on April 23-25.
Moreover, the Canadian Football League has also postponed its season indefinitely.
The National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) suspended game season on March 11 with no date set for resumption. At the time of the game suspension, the teams had played 63-67 games.
The Women’s National Basketball Association (W.N.B.A.) was scheduled to start on May 15th but was later postponed.
Major League Baseball (M.L.B.) saw a couple of its spring training games delayed, and they decided to cancel the start of the season. Considerations have been made to start the season in May, but later, due to recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they decided to postpone the season indefinitely.
Euro 2020 was scheduled at multiple destination sites at the beginning of June, but was postponed for next year. Same can be said for the women’s event, scheduled for 2021 in England, was postponed to 2022.
Major League Soccer (M.L.S.) stopped its season on March 12. Each team had only played two games. Moreover, the Champions League was stopped a day later.
The German Bundesliga is the best major sporting league to return to action. However, the Netherlands have decided to halt their season, as well as France. Other leagues, like the English Premier and Italy’s Serie A, are all scheduled for return in June.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) canceled sporting events in early March. Winter sports didn’t have the chance to finish.
The N.C.A.A. awarded all its athletes with an extra year of eligibility because they missed out on their games.
French Open Tennis was postponed until Sept. 20. That being said, Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in over 80 years. United States Open Tennis has been indefinitely postponed, and organizers are looking to more options.
The PGA Tour halted its events after the first round of the Player’s Championship on March 12. The British Open in July was canceled, and the other three majors were rescheduled: The P.G.A. Championship will begin on Aug. 6, the United States Open on Sept. 17 and the Masters on Nov. 12. The PGA Tour said it planned to return June 11 with a tournament in Texas.
The National Hockey League (N.H.L.) cancelled its season on March 12, with most of the season’s games being already played. The league draft was postponed. The league is now planning to resume later this year with a 24-team playoff, but the world championship was canceled.
The Olympic Games
The Summer Games were pushed forward for up to a year, with their new official date standing at July 23, 2021. The Paralympics have also been postponed to August in 2021.
What does this mean for sports?
With most of sporting events, both big or small, being either cancelled or postponed, it’s no secret to anyone that the sports industry is taking a hit. But as with anything, the sports industry is going to recover.
That being said, doctors are saying that most fans won’t be in stadiums until 2021.
Dr. Nate Favini, leading expert at Forward Healthcare, said that the speed at which sports can go back to normal is proportional to the scale of testing possible. As quickly as rapid scale testing can be widespread everywhere, the sooner we can start allowing people who have negative tests to resume into stadiums – at smaller groups. Most will be required to don protective equipment, like N95 respirators.This scale of testing will potentially be possible near the end of the year.