Coronavirus is sweeping across the globe at a rapid rate, and is shutting down cities and putting countries on lockdown. Considering its reach, obviously sporting events have been severely affected by this crisis.
Across the globe, in every sporting discipline has suffered from postponements and cancellations, but which sport has been affected the most? And how are other sports handling the outbreak.
Considering it is the most popular and most played sport in the world, it’s no surprise that football has been hit the hardest by the outbreak. League’s have been suspended, tournaments suspended, even the Euro 2020 has been moved until next year.
La Liga, Ligue 1, the Premier League, almost all European and Asian leagues, majority of South American and US leagues have all been suspended. As mentioned above, the Euro’s have also been postponed until next year.
The Euro’s were suspended for multiple reasons, the obvious ones being the travel restrictions and not allowing large groups of people to congregate, but the suspension has also been implemented to allow for domestic leagues to be completed if possible.
These suspensions have also given rise to a plethora of outcomes with regards to domestic leagues. Will they be cancelled all together? Will the tables stay as they are and the season finishes that way, or will the seasons be made void and allow for a fresh start next season?
The league shutdowns are sure to last for the next month or two at least, and meetings to determine a way forward are still ongoing with no clear, definitive decisions made yet. Your bet on Liverpool winning the league may still work out though.
These league suspensions are terrible news for smaller clubs who rely on ticket sales and matchday sales to survive. They don’t make the reach and popularity as the bigger clubs, and therefore can’t rely on merchandise sales and sponsorships, and they are on the verge of collapse.
Another massive sporting event that is due to take place this year are the Olympics. Due to take place between the end of July and early August, Japan has not made a decision yet on if it will go ahead or not, although preparations have not slowed down.
There are a confirmed 1400 cases of Corona in the country, but they seem to have missed the spike that other countries have had to endure. This may be good news for Japan, but is almost meaningless for the Olympics.
Considering the amount of people that travel for the Olympics, it may be impossible to hold them without risking a further outbreak, unless every single traveler is tested and found to be negative, barring that, the Olympics are likely to be delayed as well.
Rugby and Cricket
Multiple rugby leagues and tournaments have been suspended, while many cricket tours have also either been suspended or cancelled. Obviously travel is the biggest issue, as well as the enforced 2 week long self-quarantine that many countries have implemented over the past couple of weeks.
Formula 1 was meant to begin a few days ago but has also been suspended. The schedule would have taken teams across the world, and in particular to countries that are currently on lockdown.
Many experts have said that there would only need to be 8 races run to constitute Championship season, but currently, there is no decision on when the racing will begin, or where it will begin.
Another option being cancelling races in highly infected countries and piecing together the other races to form a season, although simple logistics and a further spike in infections would halt this plan.
The Tour de France is only a couple of months away, and considering it is the biggest cycling event of the year, there are hundreds of thousands of people, and the teams, who are hoping that Corona will be under control by then.
A number of races have already been suspended and are due to take place at a later date, but once again, many riders take part in multiple tours each year, and when each of these races takes place could seriously affect which races choose to take part in.
With a few basketball players testing positive for the virus, it is no surprise that the NBA season was suspended immediately. Games were stopped midway through, games that were due to take place were cancelled instantly, and the league went into lockdown.
March Madness, the massive month of college basketball which would have seen 60+ teams take part in the tournament across the country was scrapped completely. The NCAA also cancelled all remaining tournaments for both the mens and womens leagues.
The WWE has taken a very unusual, and according to some experts and wrestling pundits, the wrong decision moving forward. WWE has the longest running weekly occuring show on TV, and they weren’t going to let Coronavirus stop that.
They decided to hold their shows in front of empty seats, with only limited personnel on hand, no crowds allowed. April is also Wrestlemania month, and their decision on Wrestlemania has raised even more eyebrows.
Wrestlemania is going to go ahead at this point. It will be held in a training facility in Florida, with limited crew and absolutely no fans. Yes, that’s right, the biggest wrestling event of the year will be live streamed from an empty training facility.
Considering the scale at which tournaments, leagues and events have been cancelled in all sports, it is a very strange move for the WWE to still move ahead with a Wrestlemania that was tipped to be one of the best ever, to be held in a small, empty, glorified gym.
Coronavirus has hit all sporting disciplines hard. There is no telling when it will be resolved, how each sport will move forward, or how it will affect current teams, leagues, and standings. Only time will tell.