Sports Fans May Take Timeout in Post Pandemic World
By Anastasia Obis
This year has been an unprecedented time in sports. With thousands of sporting events postponed or canceled, sports enthusiasts are all wondering when things will go back to normal.
The reality is we most likely will not be attending any sports events until 2021.
Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business conducted a poll on how fans felt about resuming the games with an audience in attendance. Among 762 responders, 61 % said they won’t attend any sporting events until there is a vaccine, and 12% said they would go to sporting events if social distancing is maintained.
Some sports will return at some point in 2020, but this year will be marked as a year in sports with no fans in attendance. It will give us a chance to analyze what kind of role fans play in our sports.
Is a game-winning touchdown going to be as dramatic without the roar of the crowd? Are the final seconds of a tied basketball game still going to be full of suspense if there isn’t an arena full of people collectively in the clutches of anticipation over what might happen?
This year will take both a financial and emotional toll on sports. Sports teams without their fans in attendance and sports fans that will not have this experience are half of the battle. Another battle in and of itself is coming. What are sports going to look like post Coronavirus?
It is too early to tell since we are dealing with something no one has ever experienced before. One thing is clear – it is not going to look the same for some time.
To maintain six feet on all sides means it will bring stadium capacity down to 25-30%. Obviously, no high-fiving, let alone hugging.
What about the fans who are over 60, or those with preexisting medical conditions? Will we have to discourage them from attending sporting events until a vaccine is developed?
These are the questions that are on our minds all the time, but as Governor Cuomo said: “ How do you get across the swamp? Stone to stone across the morass. One step at a time, and make sure you’re on firm footing, and then you look for the next stone.”