2020 will go down in history books as being the year where the world had to pivot and almost come to a complete stop. The impact Covid-19 virus had on everyday life was felt by absolutely everyone, it did not hold back regardless of who you were. Last March saw the sports industry, without any exception, put a complete pause to live sports, sporting events and any kind of activity regarding said category. Millions of fans across the world were left wondering when the action would be back in full swing or at least some kind of swing. Over the past couple of months professional and college sports have made a slow return, to the delight of sports betting fans but with attendance to games either prohibited or very limited, what will happen in 2021 in the sports industry?
Getting Back into a Rhythm
After having to shut down the vast majority of all professional sports, different major sports leagues have slowly taken the last part of 2020 as a trial and error run to return to their usual routines. Still the road hasn’t been cleared off yet with different tournaments having to be called off because of COVID related situations and scares. For sporting professionals, be it players, coaches, team staffers or executives returning to their craft and line of work has been quite a daunting task. With daily COVID testings at best, complete change of scenery and a rethinking of their training, performances and other duties getting back into the groove of things has been more of an uphill battle than ever.
If the last months of 2020 have helped in any way towards moving into 2021, it’s to allow major sports organizations to find the best suitable ways to continue going with their lives and performing to the best level they can offer. Teams and organizations have come up with strict contingency plans to be able to offer athletes a safe environment to perform in as well as give fans in some shape or form the action they are accustomed to having.
Will 2021 Be The Year Fans Come back?
One of the most significant changes we’ve had to witness after sports have slowly made their way back because of this pandemic is the lack of fans in the different sporting venues around the world. While some of the most important events in the sporting calendar like The British Open for golf and the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament were all together cancelled, in other sports we were witnesses to games being played with no fans at all in physical attendance but with the commitment of athletes to push forward and still put on the best show they could.
In 2021, sporting events with limited capacity crowds might become the new normal until the pandemic is under control. Leagues such as the NFL, WNBA and NHL have already started implementing this kind of practice to slowly welcome back their most loyal fans into the game. As the surge and implantation of different virus battling vaccines is being put into place we could see a 2021 with fans again cheering for their teams in their respective stadiums. Of course compromises will have to be achieved in order to fulfill everyone’s desires. Strict health and safety protocols will still rule the scene, social distancing and bubble group reservations will also become critical if we wish to see fans being able to come back.
The Stricter the Protocols the Safer the Sport
While vaccines have already been started to be given across different parts of the world, both sports events organizers as well as fans need to understand that in order to get over this massive bump 2020 is leaving for everyone compromises must be acquired and respected. Reports estimate that it won’t be until the fourth quarter of 2021 when indoor sports will be able to be held in the safest conditions available. Outdoor sports such as football, baseball and soccer might be safer given to factors such as better social distancing control and natural ventilation against indoor mechanic ventilation. The mandatory usage of masks should also be taken into account as a non-negotiable compromise.
As the world gets ready to welcome in a new year, hopefully one that can give us enough light as to how to deal and finally beat the coronavirus pandemic fans do need to understand that sports will look different next year. As long as all measures are respected and teams and fans are able to keep that fire ignited in them given by the love of sports we might have some better news coming our way next year.