Many sectors of the economy have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but sports, in particular are getting hit hard. In almost every city in the world, large gatherings have been cancelled or very limited for the past 14 months. Youth sports that once provided purpose, school-pride and a feeling of belonging for young athletes were put on hold. The sporting world continued to march on as best it could with bubbles, stringent protocols and shortened seasons–but the losses have been staggering. But what about the fans themselves? And the overall health of the larger sports economy? Sports just aren’t the same for the players, fans or season ticket holders when there isn’t a live audience cheering their team on.
Today, with Covid cases tapering and vaccines available to all, we’re seeing signs of hope for a weary-eyed sports world. Isolated “bubbles”, where players and team staff stick to a single, or a handful of locations in isolation, have been effective for the NHL, NBA and NCAA Basketball. We have good news to report on this front, though: all major sports leagues plan on having fans in their stadiums as municipalities and COVID conditions allow. There are still some risks to consider and certainly, some types of arenas (particularly indoor) are more or less safe than others.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics also appear to be moving forward for now. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from weary athletes and fans around the world.
As we begin to reawaken as a country and world, arenas and stadiums will continue to increase the number of fans they’ll allow into their stadiums. Fans need to keep doing what they’ve done so well heretofore: wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance and enjoy the games! Sunlight is the best disinfectant so, if conditions are right and COVID stays in check, get out there and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and, of course, the game.
If you’re still not comfortable going to the games in person you can always stream them live, easier than ever!