Live sports are amazing experiences that fans often take for granted. In these troubling times, there’s a void-like deficit of live events. Not just the actual games, but also the sideshows that go with the games such as Hall of Fame ceremonies and drafts, are things we miss these days.
Today we’re going to take a look at 20 sports experiences that fans took for granted and absolutely miss these days. There is a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of many sports experiences, but many roadblocks remain. Some of them are massive sports experiences, while others are smaller scale but still hold a special place in our hearts. Check out the list below.
20. Live Attendances
First of all, let’s talk about the obvious. Live attendances are out the window right now. We’ve seen several sporting events return behind closed doors. However, it has obvious pros and cons. It is great to see some live sports back, but when it comes to the likes of soccer games, a crowd definitely adds to the experience.
One of the sports suffering less from this is MMA. It’s fascinating to hear the noise of fighters hitting each other and their corners shouting instructions. It’s definitely a strange time and arguably reduces the competitive nature of the events. In short, professional sports need fans.
Boxing has returned with the likes of Top Rank already hosting events. But good luck trying to name any of the fighters who’ve taken to the ring so far. Shakur Stevenson is probably the most famous boxer to put his gloves back on. However, he definitely isn’t a household name just yet.
In sum, until the crowds return we’re not getting any big fights. Anthony Joshua’s title defense against Kubret Pulev is off until they can fill the 80,000-seat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. With huge sums of money at stake, they won’t want to come back too quickly and miss out on the massive live gate.
You might think this is a golden opportunity for Esports to make massive gains. All you need is a games console and an internet connection, right? However, the truth is more complicated than that as even the Fortnite World Cup was a casualty of the current health crisis.
Set to take place in New York, organizers canceled the event as it just wasn’t possible in the current climate. With over three million dollars at stake, this was a major decision. But Fortnite will host events online for the rest of the year. By that time there will be a new game and nobody will care anyway.
The UFC was adamant that no health crisis was going to stop it. In short, they’ve been the most active sports league in North America. However, while there have been some tremendous fights over this period, there’s one major problem no one foresaw.
Currently, the US has a travel ban in place over Europe and most of the world. It has depleted their roster of available fighters. Several of their cards have been extraordinarily thin, with Cynthia Cavillo vs. Jessica Eye perhaps one of the worst main events in company history.
A lot of fans have a love-hate relationship with soccer. They want their country to do well. But the majority of international games are of low quality. Then players injure themselves before returning to their club. However, these days you can’t really travel so it’s not a problem.
Euro 2020 was one of the biggest sporting casualties of the current crisis. UEFA wanted to spread it across 13 nations which would be disastrous at the moment. It could be a long time until we see international teams take to the field again. Times have changed.
If there’s one certainty in life, it’s that the NBA playoffs will take place every year. And they will this year too, but in a revamped format after the NBA suspended the league. Now 22 teams will fight it out in Orlando for the biggest prize in basketball.
There were major doubts that the NBA would continue this year after they took a break. Several athletes fell ill including the notorious Rudy Gobert, who inadvertently spread it to several Utah Jazz teammates. However, we can rest easy and watch with bated breath as competition comes back and heats up.
Spare a thought for college athletes who are suffering more than most in these times. The majority of varsity athletes have very short careers with only a few going on to pursue their dream of being a professional athlete. If you can’t play then how do you attract scouts from the pro ranks?
Several colleges have already suspended their programs on an individual basis. Meanwhile, the governing bodies of several sports have also intervened. The health crisis has put college football under severe threat this year. Who knows what will happen and if we lose any super athletes because of it.
Like we hinted at, it’s not just live sports that we miss, but also the side events that go with them. For many baseball fans, the MLB draft is one of the highlights of the year. Everybody loves to see their team sign the most exciting talent. However, this year MLB has drastically curtailed the draft.
The year the draft is down from 40 rounds to just five. But many fans think Commissioner Rob Manfred has ulterior motives with many minor league teams at risk. MLB is a hotbed of tension right now with players and owners at a typical impasse over salaries and value amid the crisis.
The highlight of the club soccer calendar, the Champion’s League is the world’s most elite competition. The very best teams and players battle it out to win the European Cup. However, this year’s format will be very different from what we usually see.
Instead of the usual two-legged ties we normally get, the remainder of the Champion’s League knockout stage will be a mini-tournament in Lisbon. It just goes to show that even though we have our usual expectations of how things will be, you can’t take anything for granted.
Some of the most iconic Formula One races take place in cities. Think about Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Monaco. These events lend prestige and glamor to their host cities, which is why many countries are willing to host one. However, they’re off the table for 2020r.
This is a massive blow to the likes of Hanoi, as the Vietnamese capital was ready to host its first event this year. Instead, only designated closed race tracks like Silverstone in the UK will host races for the remainder of the calendar. This is to prevent crowds from gathering.
For many people, completing a marathon is the pinnacle of their athletic dreams. They’re massive occasions that also help to raise millions for many charities across the world. However, the majority of the world’s major marathons are off until 2021 at the earliest.
New York hosts the world’s biggest marathon with over 50,000 runners in 2019. Obviously, that’s not a bright idea in the most affected city in the US, so it was never going to actually happen this year. Elsewhere, the Tokyo Marathon saw just 300 elite runners participate instead of its usual 38,000 participants.
Bicycle sales have surged this year after governments told people to stay at home. They’re desperate to get out without coming into contact with other people. However, it’s really not that simple as the Tour de France proves. The event’s organizers have delayed the world’s most famous cycling race and subsequently the experiences of many drivers and fans.
Usually, it takes place in June, however, this year it will occur in August. The heat could be a major issue for racers, but only time will tell. There will also be a male and female podium for the first time as promoters attempt to revive interest in the event.
2020’s lunacy forced event organizers in Tokyo to defer the Olympics until next year. It’s a massive shame for Japan, who poured massive efforts into preparations. They were also defiant against the odds but when Canada pulled out of the event, the writing was on the wall.
Only war has canceled the prestigious event. This is the first time that a health emergency outside of human control has got in the way of the tournament. However, it wasn’t realistic for millions of fans to travel across the globe for sports experiences.
You can picture it now. Tennis players wearing all-white. Wealthy celebrities, drunk on champagne, as they munch prawn cocktail sandwiches and pretend to be fans. However, for the first time since World War II, there won’t be a Wimbledon in the summer.
Also, unlike the French Open, organizers can’t simply reschedule Wimbledon. The tournament uses grass courts which are highly dependent on the summer sun for growth. You just can’t have Wimbledon in winter because it would be a pool of mud. Who would wash all those whites?
Imagine being an elite college athlete right now and not knowing what is going to happen with your career. This goes doubly for basketball players because they typically follow the ‘one-and-done’ model after a single year of college. The NBA draft is an event we just take for granted these days.
However, they will get the chance to sign for NBA franchises but later than expected. The league pushed the draft back until October. It’s definitely a case of better late than never. Riches and fame await, but they’ll need to be patient just a little longer.
Every year, the Indy 500 takes place on Memorial Day. It’s one of few sports experiences as certain as Santa Claus coming on Christmas Day. But not this year because of all the madness going on in the world. Instead, it will take place in August because of unforeseen global chaos.
Two world wars resulted in the race’s cancellation on six previous occasions. However, this year’s race will go ahead, but later than usual. Steeped in tradition, the Indy 500 is part of motorsport’s Triple Crown. It turns out that major diseases don’t care about history.
Imagine if the team you support hadn’t won the league for 30 years? Then suddenly they came within two wins of reclaiming their lost glory? That’s exactly the situation Liverpool FC was in before the global health crisis. Their incredibly dominant year was under severe threat.
Since then, the Premier League has restarted and Liverpool won their 19th title. But it’s bittersweet because after so long they won’t be able to host any events where their fanbase experiences a celebration in their stadium. It’s a script with a very cruel ending. However, it still hasn’t stopped fans from taking to the streets to celebrate.
The NFL Draft did take place this year but not as organizers expected. These are typically huge experiences, focusing on fan experiences. Organizers predicted that thousands of fans would come to Las Vegas this year but obviously that wasn’t possible.
Instead, they went back to the drawing board and planned something very different. Instead of having all the players in one place, they brought it all online. In short, it could have been much worse. Fans even praised the NFL for powering on despite missing out on live events.
Some locations host one major sports competition per year. They depend on these annual experiences because they bring thousands of visitors and massively boost their economy. Just take a look at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Every year, 20,000 competitors take part in the prestigious bodybuilding event.
Officials expected up to 200,000 spectators in 2020. However, Governor Rob DeWine took the drastic step of canceling the vital event because of the risks involved with hosting it during an international health emergency. Sadly, this decision will undoubtedly affect many small businesses. It’s a no-win situation.
Another example of a classic event that people just take for granted. The NFL Hall of Fame game is off this year. The Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers will no longer play in the showpiece event. Meanwhile, organizers also canceled the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
However, Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker says it will be back with a bang in 2021 for an even more spectacular festival of football. This year’s inductees will have to wait for a little but it will come. In short, you can’t guarantee any of the sports experiences we took for granted these days.