Professional sports comprise a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide – this includes the numerous small industries that operate in line of sports teams, the money that comes in from sports advertising and the profits that sporting media companies make. The sporting industry is insanely famous for the insane amounts of profits it brings in every year through every medium. Other than the mentioned streams of income for the sporting industry, sports betting is a ludicrously famous way of making money for sports fans with NBA lines being the most profitable and popular means of doing so.
However, all of that came to a standstill on the onset of the COVID-19 virus globally. The virus has posed serious challenges for the sporting industry and put the future of sporting fortunes at stake with the continual lockdowns and uncertainty surrounding the economy. However, currently sports teams are resuming operations amidst the pandemic slowly and gradually. In doing so, they are dealing with the lockdown and unsure viewership.
The resuming of play brought with it a number of problems such as when almost half of the Miami Marlins team – a popular baseball team with cult following – tested positive for the COVID-19 and subsequently led to a postponement in the overall baseball season that started speculatively in the first place.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global lockdown, sporting teams, leagues and organizations are being faced with crucial decisions that they need to make with little knowledge and experience in the matter. Dealing with matters such as access to healthcare, regular check-ups, stadium and fans precautionary measures etc. is on the top of the to-do list for every sporting league.
While most sporting fans and audiences are divided between whether or not regular sports should resume, such decisions come with their set of pros and cons. For instance, one may think that in light of the rise in global deaths owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising unemployment, it is a little insensitive for sports leagues to resume games in hopes of seeing their fans indulging in play. However, on the other hand, one might also argue that it is necessary that sporting leagues resume play to help take fans’ minds off the pandemic and allow them to rejoice and enjoy their gaming favorites from the comfort of their homes during the lockdown.
The sentiment innate feelings of sporting audiences related to resuming play is a crucial consideration for sporting leagues because fans are central to a sporting event’s success. Wherever the sporting industry stands right now – it owes it to its fans who every season indulge and participate in sporting events religiously. The relationship between professional sports and fans is at the core of every sporting league’s success and hence public sentiment is crucial to any league planning its comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Numerous surveys conducted during the pandemic regarding the resuming of professional sports give varying results – some surveys report that almost 60% of fans want sporting events to resume during the pandemic with necessary precautions while almost 30% of fans are of the opinion that professional sports cannot come to the same level as they were at prior to he pandemic.
The reality of resuming sporting events is that in order to do so, COVID-19 SOPs would have to be followed religiously, which is something many individuals would either not be willing to do, or would simply let go in the stadium when they are heated and pumped up looking at their favorite team perform.
Amidst of this unclear situation, sporting leagues have been trying to remain in the public eye by making conscious efforts to engage in PR and CSR activities to indulge their fans on a constant basis.