Pandemic Hits Sports Hard

Sporting events across the world and nation have been canceled to ensure the safety of athletes and fans

As COVID- 19 has spread across the world these past few months, it has not only impacted the economy and public life but also sporting events around the world.  Following the advice of the CDC and WHO, all professional sporting leagues across the nation have postponed their season or canceled them indefinitely.

After Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive on March 11, the NBA would be the first professional league in the U.S. to postpone its season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “We also recognize because of the high profile that our players have, others in the public will take the lead from us. I’m hoping the league can take action during this hiatus to use the NBA’s platform to help people through this outbreak and make sure people know more about the proper social distance and the proper way to wash your hands.” Due to cancellations, the NBA is expected to lose $350 to $400 million dollars from combined gate sales.

Following the example of the professional sports leagues, the NCAA, the non-profit organization responsible for regulating college athletics, also canceled its popular March Madness basketball tournament a day after the NBA announced cancellations. Marketing rights for the tournament would have made the NCAA over $867 million.  The colleges that were participating in the tournament also stand to take a large hit, with each school in the southeastern conference to lose over $17 million.  The city of Atlanta, which was to host the Semifinals, will lose up to $100 million in marketing and ticket sales alone.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were rescheduled and are now set to begin on July 23, 2021. Given the current situation, Japan’s Prime Minister encouraged organizers to reschedule the Tokyo Games to ensure that athletes from all over the world be able to compete in their best condition and to ensure the utmost safety for spectators. This will be the first time the games were canceled since 1940.  NBC was set to advertise the games and is expected to lose over $1.25 billion.

Although much money has been lost and fans across the world are disappointed, canceling these major sports events was a necessity to set a good example and ensure the safety of athletes and fans.