It’s a difficult time now for the sports world. Many fans are suffering withdrawal symptoms because there’s nothing to watch at the moment. Meanwhile, athletes are in the same position, unable to do their jobs and compete. Everybody is struggling right now.
But how have different sports leagues and promotions dealt with the current health crisis? That’s what we’ll look at today. The majority of these leagues are in stasis, but some are persevering, albeit controversially. So we broke down the different responses and ever-changing plans for the future. Check out the list below.
Major League Baseball has canceled its London Series in June between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs because of the coronavirus pandemic. MLB owners have approved a plan to address salary and service-time issues amid the indefinite delay to the start of the regular season.
The MLB draft is increasingly likely to happen in July, though it could be shortened and include bonus deferrals. Organizers actually planned to start the league earlier this year so it wouldn’t clash with the Presidential election. So much for that plan.
The first soccer installment on this list, Serie A was the first league to collapse in Europe this year. With rising cases around the country, Italy went dark and told all residents to stay indoors. More players have fallen ill in Italy than in any other country. It could be October before they play again.
Meanwhile, all of the clubs are raising money to donate to hospitals for medical equipment. Furthermore, many players are taking pay cuts to help supporting staff who are vulnerable at the moment. Italy has been through a lot in recent months but there is a sense of solidarity in the country.
The two biggest postponed tournaments are the Masters and PGA Championship. Meanwhile, everybody expects the US Open and British Open to follow suit. However, reports indicate NFL greats Tom Brady and Peyton Manning could compete alongside Woods and Mickelson in a two-on-two sequel.
In short, this would be a charity event with all proceeds going to the frontlines of the current health crisis. The big question is what to do with the Ryder Cup because it could be the first competition when golf finally returns. Once again, there’s a lot of questions without many answers.
So far Formula One has six races and canceled two. That’s a serious blow to its advertising revenue for the year. However, the escalating crisis in Asia left them with no choice but to freeze the season. It’s unfortunate that the scheduling was the way it was.
Affected races so far include the likes of Shanghai, Hanoi, Melbourne, and Bahrain. Now, Asia appears to be stabilizing while Europe is getting worse. Organizers admit that more races are likely to fall victim to ongoing health and safety restrictions across the globe.
NASCAR is off the table until at least May, but we all know that it will probably be later than that. Five NASCAR Cup races, as well as the Xfinity and Truck series races, are off. The earliest the series will resume will be for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
Meanwhile, organizers have deferred the Indy 500 to August. One thing that racing promoters are doing the ongoing sports vacuum is to hold e-racing events online. Many drivers actually use the same simulation software to train and prepare for races. They don’t count for points, but they’re fun to watch.
Like the rest of European soccer, the Champion’s League is on hold. They attempted to play games behind closed doors but that quickly became an impossible option, especially for Italian and Spanish teams. But UEFA has set a deadline of August 3 to finish competition.
There are a couple of ways they could do this. In an ideal world, everything would settle down and the tournament would seamlessly resume. However, they could also hold one-off knockout games in neutral venues. Do you think we’ll get to see the tournament finish this year?
Currently suspended, the NHL has 18 games remaining. We’ve already gone past April 6, when the playoffs were due to start. However, it could be a long time until the regular season finishes, never mind the Stanley Cup final. The league has urged all players to take necessary precautions.
Many of them have returned to Canada and other countries. Even if the league resumes, borders have closed and airlines aren’t flying so it will be very difficult to organize anything. In sum, the NHL is in limbo just like the rest of us. You could say hockey is on ice.
Europe’s premier international rugby union competition is on hold. Ireland was the first nation to react to the current threat when they canceled a game against Italy. The situation in Italy was escalating and soon the rest of the continent followed suit. Now the tournament is on hold.
As an annual tournament, it remains to be seen what happens. Will the tournament resume? Three countries have the opportunity to win with Ireland, England, and France all in contention. It’s been a very strange competition this year with a number of teams in crisis even before the world shut down.
OK, it’s sports entertainment, not real sports; we get it. But the fact is that WWE holds live events and is very controversially still choosing to do so in the current climate. They’re holding shows in the WWE Performance Center and broadcasting them to the world.
However, despite conventional thought, they’re actually losing ratings numbers. Television has soared over the past couple of weeks, as has streaming platforms like Netflix. Vince McMahon thought he’d get a monopoly in the sports world but according to Forbes, the opposite is true.
First of all, UEFA deserves everything they get for being greedy. One country usually hosts the European Championships, but this year they decided to spread the tournament across 12 countries. Obviously, with current travel restrictions and mass sickness across Europe, that’s impossible.
UEFA reacted by postponing the tournament until next year. However, where will it take place? Let’s be real, the world is going to change after all of this is over. Many countries are going to be tentative about hosting big sporting events, but only time will tell what happens.
The XFL’s inaugural season was a shambles. Conceived as a summer alternative to the NFL with faster play clocks, it always had an element of risk. But Vince McMahon could never have planned for current world events. The consequences of the crisis on the new league will be severe.
First of all, they canceled the entire season after just five games. However, teams must pay players for the remainder of the season. This obviously has severe financial implications. Add in sponsorship problems and the fact that players can leave for the NFL at the end of their contracts, and you can see why they’re in trouble.
Promoted by UFC and Bellator veteran Chael Sonnen, SUG hosts grappling contests between elite combat sports athletes. Sonnen being Sonnen managed to get SUG 12 to go ahead. UFC fighters Roxanne Modafferi and Carlos Condit both withdrew from the tournament but the rest of the roster remained.
Sonnen found an empty grain silo in Portland, Oregon and organized a strict policy limiting the number of people allowed inside at once. Competitors had to wear long-sleeved rash guards to enhance their protection. It was a truly weird event, but you’d expect no less of the combat sports world.
Japan waited for as long as possible before deferring the Olympics to 2021. It’s a nightmare situation for The Land of the Rising Sun because it has poured billions into improving infrastructure for the event. That includes stadia, hotels and even upgrading ATMs for the world’s biggest sports tournament.
However, Canada made the decision for them by pulling their athletes out of the Games. With most other countries in the world expected to follow suit and a huge decline in estimated attendance figures, they finally made the right decision. Now, the Games will be next summer.
Spare a thought for college athletes at this time. After it became unsafe for so many people to be in one place, most schools across the US closed indefinitely. This has a profound impact on the sports stars of tomorrow. Fortunately, the NCAA is responding in a sensible way.
They’ve granted all student-athletes in Spring sports an extra year of eligibility. It’s not perfect for them, but it’s as much as they could do in response. At least they’ll get the chance to play again and prove themselves to the big leagues as they hope to move on to professional sports.
The world’s most lucrative soccer league is facing uncertainty because of the current crisis. Players are under orders to stay at home. However, several have violated this, including Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, who decided to have a party with hookers. Meanwhile, the question of what’s next is under debate.
Do they void the league or wait until it’s safe to restart? Liverpool is waiting anxiously because they’re on course for their first title in 30 years. Meanwhile, teams in danger like West Ham have unsurprisingly called for this year’s results to be dissolved. Meanwhile, several teams have opened their facilities to the National Health Service.
UFC President Dana White has taken a unique approach with the current crisis. Unlike practically every other major sports league or promotion in the world, he’s insisting on holding events. His battle to put on UFC 249 is one of the most insane things that any sports personality has ever tried to do.
Critics have openly condemned him for putting his fighters’ health at risk. However, White remains defiant and insistent that UFC 249 set for April 18 will go ahead. He’s touted a ‘secret location’ then even said he would use that for two months before moving on to a ‘secret island’ for international fights. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see Khabib Nurmagamedov vs. Tony Ferguson. In short, the whole situation is an unnecessary mess.
Most people reading this probably can’t find Belarus on a map. President Alexander Lukashenko is ‘The Last Dictator in Europe.’ He also doesn’t care about the ongoing health emergency. That’s why the Belarus Premier League is still going strong – one of very few in the world.
Soccer fans around the world are starving for games. TV networks from countries like Ukraine, Russia, India, and Iran have all picked up their games. Teams like BATE Borisov and Dinamo Minsk have played in the Champion’s League, but they’re getting new exposure now. Opportunism at its finest.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis tours are on hold for now. Both the French Open and Wimbledon have canceled so far. Assuming things improve, Roland Garros will move to September. However, for the first time since World War II, a year will pass without Wimbledon.
Wimbledon uses grass courts so it’s impossible to organize it for later in the year because of weather conditions. However, Roland Garros uses clay courts so organizers can reschedule. Even so, it’s problematic because it will likely come into conflict with the US Open. In sum, it’s an absolute mess.
Probably the worst affected sports league in the United States, the NBA is currently on hiatus. After the outbreak began, the NBA gave athletes guidelines to follow. This included fist-bumping instead of high-fiving or shaking hands and not signing autographs. But when several Utah Jazz players got sick, it all escalated.
LeBron James rejected the idea of playing in empty stadiums. In short, the NBA and most cities in the US agreed. Now the division is on hold. Giannis Antetokounmpo will have to wait for his MVP award. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks looked on course for a 70-win season. Will they achieve that now?
The calendar has been kind to football. Because there are no games between February and September, the NFL is optimistic that they’ll be able to kickoff as normal. So far the biggest story from the offseason is Tom Brady leaving the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But players still have to observe self-isolation policies. As well as this, the NFL Draft will be done online. That’s probably the biggest blow to the league so far because the festivities of the weekend just won’t be the same. Still, better safe than sorry and it keeps everybody safe.