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Will Sports Have a Comeback Despite Coronavirus?
Tuesday, 04/24/2018
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Some dub the coronavirus pandemic as a "cultural hibernation." As most leisure activities enjoyed publicly are put on hold, many people wonder how soon they'll be able to leave the house again safely. The sports industry, for instance, is feeling the brunt of canceled events. And for an industry that contributes over $71 billion to the economy each year, there is indeed a cause for alarm. Not only are we looking at massive unemployment, but the revenue streams generated by these events will dwindle and have a significant impact.

Changing the way we consume sports
For avid sports fans, nothing compares to the feeling of watching sporting events live. The experience of being inside a crowded stadium with thousands of other fans is something that shouldn't be missed. But now that most leagues are either canceled or postponed, is there another way for sports to come back during the pandemic?

Perhaps the most logical solution is to watch these events on television or via the internet. Take, for instance, Wimbledon, which was supposed to take place at the end of June. You can watch tennis everywhere if you have a VPN connection. A VPN gives anyone from blocked locations access to content online. Otherwise, a sports streaming service should work just fine.

But the problem here is that despite the thirst of fans to watch their favorite teams in action, there's the added challenge of ensuring the players, staff, and film crew's public health and safety. And professional athletes are always wary of the risks associated with possible exposure to the COVID-19 infection.

Stadiums without fans
Currently, it may seem like sports aren't about to come back anytime soon. Although experts are exploring the possibility of resuming games in empty stadiums, how will it impact the athletes' overall experience? After all, part of the adrenaline and drive to play well comes from knowing that the fans are cheering for your every move.

But for some European countries where the spread of coronavirus is somewhat contained, some sporting events tried to resume in May. The Bundesliga Soccer League in Germany was the first to resume games in the stadium. And the venue which would normally seat over 80,000 people had no more than 300 people in attendance during the game. Along with strict public health safety standards, mass testing protocols are also in place to further reduce the threat of infection.

And while Germany is one of the countries in Europe least affected by the pandemic, there is no possibility that public gatherings during sporting events will resume anytime soon. There's a significant risk to public health, which of course, is a higher priority than generating revenue.

When will sporting events return?
Almost all sporting events that were supposed to occur this year are either canceled or postponed with no assurance of returning any time before the year ends. According to Sports Illustrated, even the Summer Olympics slated to take place in Tokyo this year will likely be impacted by the pandemic.

Right now, we can only hope that the pandemic will go away on its own, or a vaccine becomes available for the general public so that normal sporting activities can once again resume as intended.


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