The world is currently in turmoil because of the current viral outbreak. Countries have closed their borders and entire cities are in lockdown. Of course, this has had a detrimental impact on the sports world. So today, we took a look at 20 of the biggest events that have fallen afoul of the virus.
Please note that we’re not trying to trivialize ongoing events. Of course, there are more important things in the world right now. However, it’s only when you lose something you realize how much you miss it. With almost every high-profile sports competition on the planet suspended or canceled, it’s a very quiet time.
Check out the list of high-profile postponements and cancellations. Which will you miss most?
20. NFL Offseason Activities
The NFL draft is still going ahead, but it has been affected by the current crisis. Unusually, it will take place behind closed doors, yet the possibility remains of even stricter measures. This means that we won’t see the players taken to the stage via boat as was originally planned for the NFL draft’s Las Vegas debut.
While the draft will go on albeit, in a lesser capacity, many other things surrounding the NFL offseason will not. The league canceled public events. Teams looking to get a physical and/or interview with prospective draftees and/or free agents are also unable to do so. It’s now looking like offseason team activities (OTAs), an integral part of teams beginning the new year, will be canceled in viral the outbreak’s wake.
It’s unfortunate but it was inevitable. The NFL’s scheduling means that it’s likely to be one of the least affected sports leagues in the world. But who knows how long this will go on?
Every year, more than 40,000 people run through the streets of London for the annual marathon. Almost 500,000 people register for the ballot just to try and take part. However, with the UK on lockdown for the unforeseeable future, the race was always going to be a major casualty of the virus.
It’s one of the most prestigious marathons in the world and an extremely difficult one to get a place for. Unfortunately, with cases spiking in London – the UK’s most populated city – it’s impossible for it to go down in April. Organizers have rescheduled the event for October.
The highest casualty of the tennis calendar, Wimbledon will not take place in 2020. Current conditions mean it’s impossible to play in front of a crowd. We won’t be seeing Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams wearing white this year. Rescheduling it is off the table, unlike the French Open.
Wimbledon is famous for its grass courts. Due to the UK’s volatile seasons, they can’t play it in Autumn. This is unlike Roland Garros, which is also a casualty. However, they use clay courts so they were able to reschedule it for late September.
Three NHL players have tested positive at the time of writing. Two are on the Ottawa Senators while the other plays for the Colorado Avalanche. The league is currently on hiatus because of it. Nobody knows when or if they’ll be able to restart.
The NHL still wants to complete the season. They’re open to extending the league and playing into August. If that means pushing the playoffs and Stanley Cup final back, then so be it. “If we have to fit games in, we’ll find ways to fit games in,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said to CNN.
Figure skating is a tough sport. There’s a limited time period where you’ll be at your best as an athlete and it takes a lot of dedication to get the flexibility and strength to pull off the best moves. Furthermore, it’s very difficult to earn money from the sport. Many skaters put in more cash than they get back.
So losing the World Championships and Olympics in the same year is extremely detrimental to many skaters. In short, it will have a major impact on their sponsorships. The only previous time they were canceled was in 1961. That’s when the entire US team died in the tragic Sabena Flight 548.
The virus has had a drastic impact on Formula One. First of all, Ferrari saw several team members infected. But it got worse. Organizers had to cancel races across the world as the chaotic scene escalated. Shanghai, Hanoi, Melbourne, and Bahrain were just some of the affected locations.
It’s extremely expensive to set up a city Grand Prix, so this is a massive blow to some of those countries. Meanwhile, current defending champion Lewis Hamilton is in isolation after coming into close contact with actor Idris Elba. It’s a disaster of a year for motor racing.
This is the second-most lucrative event on the snooker calendar with a $1.3 million cash pot for the winners. China has evolved into a snooker hub after success in the early 2000s and the game has gone from strength to strength there. Unfortunately, the situation in the Middle Kingdom escalated.
Now that China appears to be stabilizing and getting back to something resembling a normal life, it’s possible it could be rescheduled. But there’s a lot of chaos in the world right now, so don’t get your hopes up. China has lost millions in sponsorships of sports events since the crisis began.
We’re not going to see any motorcycle racing until June at the earliest. Organizers pushed back all 19 Grand Prix races until further notice. One of the potential solutions is to have two races per weekend, but drivers aren’t sure that’s sustainable. Logistically, the virus is a nightmare.
One of the people most affected is Valentino Rossi. Now 43, the Italian is a nine-time Moto GP champion. He also planned on retiring at the end of this season. But with the start delayed, he’s unsure what will happen. It would be sad to see a legend walk away without getting to say goodbye properly.
It’s the most prestigious event in the US racing calendar. It’s also the oldest in the world, having been around since 1909. Only two World Wars have got in the way of it before. That was before the virus came along and reared its ugly little head. It will be July at the earliest before it happens.
It’s part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which comprises three of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world, also including the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But it’s the only one where you get a bottle of milk if you win. Let’s hope they have refrigerators.
The most cursed event in sports, UFC 249 appears doomed. Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagamedov was scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson on April 18 in New York. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has placed the city on lockdown, so that’s definitely not happening now.
UFC President Dana White remains adamant that the event will happen. He’s believed to be looking at many options, including some in the Middle East. However, the biggest question is now how they’ll be able to pull the event off with Nurmagomedov claiming he was locked down in his native Dagestan. Also, how will the UFC secure safe travel to a foreign country for the card’s fighters? This event looks to be doomed more and more Will the UFC have to cancel Khabib vs Ferguson for the fifth time?
We were halfway through the Six Nations Rugby Championship when disaster struck. Ireland was the first nation to take it seriously, canceling their games with Italy as cases in the beleaguered Mediterranean nation spiked. Organizers suspended the tournament as cases increase.
Hosting an international tournament in the current climate just isn’t a smart idea. In fact, it’s impossible in all of the countries because of travel restrictions and emergency legislation. An annual tournament, it may be scrapped because none of the six teams are unbeaten.
It’s the trilogy some boxing fans may not want. Wilder does, of course, because he’s got a 40% stake in it and the chance to claim back his WBC title. Earlier this year, Fury crushed him in one of heavyweight boxing’s greatest performances. It was only last month but it seems like 10 years ago. Now the two men are going to run it back for a final time.
The original plan was for them to fight in July, but now it’s looking like October at the earliest. Of course, the problem is that everyone wants Fury to fight his fellow Brit Anthony Joshua for the unified championship. It’s going to be next year at the earliest before that happens if it ever does.
They call it the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports.’ But for the first time since the end of World War II, the Kentucky Derby won’t take place in May. However, organizers rescheduled the festival for September, so fingers crossed it goes ahead later this year. With a $3 million pot, it’s a massive race.
Incredibly, the race has run uninterrupted since 1875. In short, that includes two World Wars and the Great Depression. If any event has the historical clout to defy the current circumstances, it’s the Derby. Not even the Olympics can say that.
Watched by over 600 million people around the world and with thousands in attendance, this is the biggest horse race in the United Kingdom. It’s also the most lucrative, with a £1 million cash pot. However, for the first time since the end of World War II, organizers canceled the race.
Each year sees over $300 million placed in bets. Meanwhile, punters also spend the same amount at the festival which takes place at Aintree, near Liverpool. It’s a major blow to the local economy that it’s not taking place this year as hospitality services earn a fortune from the event.
The most glamorous competition in club soccer, the Champion’s League is under serious threat this year. The tournament has reached its quarterfinal stage but nobody knows if it will be possible for it to continue. Of course, this has a massive effect on the clubs that take part in the competition.
It’s worth millions of dollars to participating teams. The winner qualifies for the Club World Cup. However, that tournament may have to be deferred if the continental trophies can’t continue. One solution would be to turn the competition into single-leg knockout games.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is optimistic that the baseball season will ‘gear up’ in May. However, the real truth is that nobody can predict how long this will go on for. Will MLB really be in a place to continue in July or August? Only time will tell.
If the league doesn’t continue, the LA Dodgers could suffer massively. Mookie Betts is a free agent after the 2020 season with up to four other major players able to walk away. They won’t be the only franchise desperate to push the league back as long as possible simply so that it can be played at some point.
With each passing day, it becomes increasingly likely that the NBA season will end without a champion. At least 10 players have tested positive. There could be severe consequences for some teams and players in the suspended league. Just ask Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on course for the MVP award.
He’ll probably still get it, but it’s possible that his Milwaukee Bucks will miss out on only the third 70-win season in NBA history. Also, the Lakers may not get the chance for closure after the passing of Kobe Bryant. A 17th championship trophy is within their grasp and would cap off an emotional year.
Liverpool FC is just two games away from sealing their first league title for 30 years. However, their heartbreak may extend into another year after the virus brought the Premier League to a halt. Nobody knows if the world’s most-watched soccer league will resume this year.
Already, some clubs have called for the entire season to be scrapped. This would have massive consequences for Championship sides Leeds United and West Brom too as they push for promotion. Whatever happens, it will be messy. Luckily, the next installment on this list buys them time.
This is Europe’s biggest international soccer tournament. Ironically, UFA decided to expand the tournament from 16 teams to 24. They also thought it was a good idea to spread the championship across the continent. The plan was for 12 cities in 12 different countries to host the event.
With the likes of Italy and Spain ravaged by the disease as well as spikes in other countries, it was impossible for this to go ahead. The amount of money and the complexity of organizing venues makes this a very messy situation. With a very congested soccer calendar, this is going to be a difficult one to solve.
The Japanese government was adamant the virus would not prevent them from hosting the Olympics. However, when Canada announced that its athletes would not participate, the writing was on the wall. A wave of other nations was also preparing to withdraw.
Now, for the first time in history, the Olympics Games will be deferred in peacetime. The initial plan is for it to happen next year in 2021, but only time will tell. Japan has poured billions into preparing infrastructure for the games. Officials expected 10 million visitors to Tokyo during the event.