- After complete shutdowns in March, sports are back now even though they look and feel different because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
- There are many different reasons these sports have been able to find success in their restart and start to the seasons.
- The future of American sports will be interesting with leagues trying to get back on their regular schedule and move forward.
NEW YORK – It’s hard to believe that only four months ago, sports fans were begging for any type of sports-related content and now we’ve reached a point where six major sports leagues had a game on in the same day.
These days it seems like a game is played every day, sometimes more than one, and sometimes even eight playoff games happen in the span of 24 hours. This has led many to wonder how are we able to sustain all these sporting events happening during what is still a ranging pandemic and what the sports environment will look like after this moment in history is over.
March 12, 2020, was the day the sports in our country stopped and multiple leagues were forced to delay their seasons. Once these sports came back it was time for other leagues to also start their season which led us to have this big overlap period of multiple sports.
On September 10 sports fans got a day where six major sports leagues along with even tennis and college football teams had a game. This kind of super sports equinox has only happened twice in history.
In just July, DraftKings was gearing up for these sports to restart after COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and in a national study 78% of Americans were willing to sacrifice traditional aspects the come with sports to have them return.
The study definitely got it right because sports have been overwhelmingly accepted back even with the multiple traditional aspects that are now missing.
How Are These Sports Continuing With COVID-19?
Many people were skeptical about the return of these team sports because of the fear that coronavirus outbreaks were inevitable.
All of these leagues came out with extensive COVID-19 protocols with one of the most successful measures implemented being “the bubble” system.
The leagues who had to restart their season were the NBA, WNBA, and the NHL, which were all almost finished with their regular season when the coronavirus shutdowns were enforced.
With these leagues having played the majority of their season they were able to move straight to playoffs and have fewer teams and little to no travel involved. The success of these bubbles worked well with consistent COVID-19 testing, a limited allowance to leave the bubble, and no in-person fans. This allowed for the leagues to move through their new postseason swiftly and without any outbreaks.
The first hint of big COVID-19 issues came with the leagues, such as the MLB, that had to play regular-season games and couldn’t use the same bubble system.
The MLB shortened its season to 60-games, constant coronavirus testing, and had no fans in the stands. There was a scare at the beginning of the season with a COVID-19 outbreak on the Miami Marlins after multiple players tested positive for the virus. The league was able to mitigate the effects of the outbreak and is now playing postseason games.
College football and the NFL are the most recent leagues to start their regular season. These leagues decided to allow limited in-person fans, giving Americans the first real taste of what used to be team sports norms.
Coronavirus protocols are in place with testing and mask requirements but for the NFL it took until Week 4 to get its first case of the virus possibly threatening the season. The Tennessee Titans are experiencing an outbreak that has caused their upcoming game to be postponed.
Football fans hope that the league will be able to take notes from the MLB and overcome this threat to the success of the 2020 season.
What Does The Future Of American Sports Look Like After This?
Normally major sports are spread out throughout the year giving us a nice balance and flow from one major sport to another. It’s interesting to think where these pandemic delays and restarts will leave our sports entertainment for next year.
The NBA season, which normally starts around October, will be ending in October this year. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the next season will not start until January 2021.
With this push back in the start, the season will run into the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next summer which means the U.S men’s players will not be able to participate. The WNBA and NHL will probably start around the same time as the NBA to stay consistent.
Since the MLB shortened its season, the plan is to get back on track next season starting in April as the league normally does but will find itself playing at the same time as these other leagues again.
It’s obvious that 2020 will definitely leave its mark on American sports forever and things will be a little abnormal for a while as we move forward from what this year has brought.
Legal sports betting sites will have to adjust accordingly as well which means their timelines and future projections for the years to come will all change because of the Coronavirus in 2020.
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Adia has a background in sports writing and strives to provide content that gives the readers accurate information. As a storyteller, she also works hard to create stories that are engaging to the audience. Whenever she’s not writing on sports betting news, she is getting her heart broken by every sports team in Georgia.