Sports have always been a powerful tool that united folks at different times. The global leaders even put wars on pause amid the Olympic Games, and the international community banned those who dared to violate this rule. However, the year 2020 will make history as the breakdown of the global sports due to the dangerous virus spread that turned humans’ lives upside down – the COVID pandemic.
COVID-19 facts to consider
- COVID-19 started as the new influenza disease (originated from China), which further led to the biggest pandemic in the world’s chronicle.
- Starting from March 2020, global leaders made a fundamental decision to put their countries under the quarantine, following the Ministry of Public Health recommendation.
- The global map was divided into colored zones covering the virus spread (red symbolized the highest danger level). The quarantine restrictions for each country varied depending on a particular zone.
- The pandemic caused colossal damage to the global economy and human wellbeing, including jobs, entertainment, and sports sectors.
How the pandemic will change sports
The recent events caused by the pandemic spread hit the sports universe a lot (maybe even harsher than WWII). All scheduled games, tourneys, and matches were canceled. NBA, MLB, NHL, and other industry leaders were forced to cut their regular seasons and stop athletes’ training. All booked tickets were not valid with the following refunding to sports fans. Even the iconic Olympics have been rescheduled for 2021, though skeptics doubt that the competitions would flow as planned.
If we talk about the post-pandemic fundamental changes in the sports niche, they affect pecuniary and mental aspects. The first category involves:
The sports sector has always been one of the primary breadwinners for the global economy with its multi-billion revenues.Experts predict that it will be a long-time and tiresome process before the sports universe will restore its before-the-COVID state. They explain it by the sponsors’ fear of investing in the sports niche with no clarity whether the events will occur by schedule.
Another thing that we should prepare for is the teams cutting. It is already happening as many talented athletes lost their jobs because clubs have no funds to pay salaries amid the financial crisis. The players’ transfers can also be put on pause as executives will hesitate to spend millions to strengthen the rosters with new stars.
No spectators’ activity
Following the pandemic decrease, it’s still unclear when people will get back to the normal routine. The virus threat has severely impacted human minds, and even fortune-tellers couldn’t give any forecasts on how the events would run in the future. Even if country leaders do not ban spectators’ presence on the stadiums and sports fields, fans will likely show less engagement in attending the crowded events, and ticket sales will immensely fall.
However, all these factors are faded by the emotional breakdown that humanity experienced during the pandemic. As for the mental changes in the sports niche, we can highlight the most crucial ones:
Nowadays, athletes need to obey stringent restrictions that include taking mandatory COVID-tests ahead of each match or tourney, obligatory masking regime, traveling only via private flights, and a ban on public places attendance amid the events. The training process will also change by sharper regulations for players, affecting their mental condition and ability to stay on high spirits ahead of big games.
No human interaction
It’s probably the most crucial change that both athletes and fans have to adjust to amid the newly-shaped environment. Players already complain that empty tribunes hurt their performances. A lack of the athletes-fans interaction will reshape the way events run. Both parties will lose in this matter: players don’t feel the fans’ support from the shouting tribunes, while sports enthusiasts lose that unique feeling of thrill when witnessing the games in the flesh, but not via the TV screen.
How to adapt to the new changes
The changes are inevitable, but it doesn’t mean that the sports niche will never get off the ground. The main requirement is to adjust to these changes and seek alternative ways to enjoy our beloved sports.
According to WorldBookmakers’ expert team, online platforms make a perfect alternative to conventional events. Multiple sites deliver live broadcasts of matches and global championships in HD quality, allowing fans to enjoy the gameplay at full and bet on their favorites. The streams are no worse than watching the games from the stadium tribunes, and fans can say farewell to standing in the sky-long lines to purchase a ticket.
Another alternative to the ‘good old’ events is virtual sports. The game process in VR reality is not that different from real life. The primary difference is that virtual athletes run the games instead of humans, but it doesn’t diminish the spectators’ thrill at an inch.
Finally, due to the Internet rise, fans can stay up-to-date about the team changes and game outcomes as they can get all necessary data in the open-access of the online space. Thus, sports enthusiasts will not lose the bond with their favorites, while athletes can always feel their fans’ support.
This pandemic taught people that nothing is stable in our fast-passing world. Despite how hard it was for humans to adapt to the new harsh conditions, we all learned a fundamental lesson – do not take our wellbeing for granted and appreciate the simple things. Of course, people need more time to adjust to the changes, and the current situation in the sports industry proves it. Still, if we stay in high spirits and remain optimistic about the future, nothing can beat us, even the global pandemic.