Sports Will Likely Be Without Fans Until 2021
Public health experts have indicated the sports universe should expect an absence of fans in sports until at least 2021, as coronavirus has infected nearly one million people nationally, and otherwise impacted billions of others worldwide, both through contracting the disease and stay-at-home orders.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thus far affected the sports industry unlike any other previous event, with the NBA playoffs, Olympics, NCAA tournament, Masters, and an innumerable number of other sporting events canceled or postponed.
Experts have stressed the fluidity of such a moment, with relative uncertainty as to how long it will take for safety to prevail.
“From my point of view based on data — and I’m a huge sports fan, so this is really hard — I can’t really predict or truly speculate,” said Jared Evans, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “We need as a population to be prepared for anything. And also be prepared for that disappointment.”
Sports bodies have planned for a range of contingencies, including playing in empty stadiums or canceling seasons in their entirety.
Earlier this month, President Trump held a conference with the commissioners of 13 major American sports, reiterating his desire to “open our country” at a news conference later in the day.
However, when asked specifically about reopening stadiums and arenas by August, Trump claimed he would not be able to commit to any date.
“I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump said. “By whenever we’re ready, as soon as we can. And the fans want to be back, too.”
When Dr. Anthony Fouci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and part of the White House’s coronavirus task force, was asked if he could provide a timeline for the return of sports, he did not answer directly, rather claiming a vaccine was necessary to curb the advance of the disease.
“My crystal ball is not just cloudy,” Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, said earlier this month. “It’s black.”
Aidan Dial is currently a freshman at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. An avid sports fan and golf fanatic, he is most interested in the NBA, NFL, and PGA Tour, though Aidan enjoys watching all sports. He is a sports analyst for At the Buzzer.