COVID on the Court

By Angelina Joleen Tayama Reyes-Chavez, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our world from how we do our grocery shopping to the way we get to visit our friends and families. We cannot even walk outside without ensuring that a piece of cloth blocks our nose and mouth to prevent spraying our little droplets of spit on everything around us. Everything from schools to theme parks has closed due to the pandemic. Sporting events are no exception to this major shutdown.

Nowadays, it is lucky if we even get to watch our favorite athletes on television because of all the closures of sporting arenas, stadiums, pools, and more. With all the sporting arenas on lockdown and COVID distancing guidelines, trying to have athletes and fans participate in sporting events safely is a massive task that not many believe is possible.

Many big sporting events, which would usually be carrying on in a typical year, were canceled due to the pandemic. The Olympics, which were to be held in Tokyo, were postponed by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, until March 2021. This is the first time that the Olympics have been delayed or canceled for reasons other than war. Judging from past revenue made during the Olympics, the sports industry will lose anywhere from $5-8 billion if the Olympics get canceled altogether in 2021, a possibility that is currently far from outlandish.

The NFL also announced they are canceling their season due to an inability to meet all the health guidelines and provide a safe space for the athletes to perform, both in closed practices and actual games. The announcement was inevitable since football is a very hands-on, close-contact sport. However, the decision of whether teams can play televised games in empty stadiums without a live audience is still up in the air. Even if games can continue in empty stadiums, then the NFL will be losing about $5.5 billion in revenue from fans and stadium tickets. This is a drastic loss for NFL revenue since ticket sales make up about 15% of all revenue.

The sporting industry customarily makes about $250 billion in revenue annually. With many other large sporting organizations, including the NBA, NHL, and MLB, canceling their seasons and events, more than $10 billion has already been lost. This will worsen as analysts predict that in this year alone, teams will lose $2.2 billion more.