On March 11, the NBA announced that it would be suspending the regular season following the revelation that Rudy Gobert tested positive for the Coronavirus. The following morning it was announced one of his teammates, Donovan Mitchell, had tested positive for the Coronavirus as well. By the end of the day, the NHL joined the NBA in suspending the regular season and Major League Baseball announced the cancelation of the final two weeks of spring training and the suspension of the first two weeks of the regular season. The XFL also announced it was canceling the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, but looked forward to returning in 2021.
The economic impacts of these cancelations and suspensions will hit hard, especially with some of the actions states are taking themselves. Uncertainty looms for the NBA, as the owners want to wait 30 days before deciding what the next course of action will be. Canceling games not only affects the teams, but entire cities as well.
Along with lost revenue at stadiums and arenas, hotels and restaurants will also lose revenue from fans that would have attended games and had overnight stays or needed a place to eat. Possibly the hardest hit group would have been arena employees, but several players and teams have stepped up to pay them for the remainder of the originally scheduled season.
As far as individual states are concerned, fans may not be able to attend their teams’ home games for a long period of time and the teams may not even be able to play at home. One example is Illinois, where Governor JB Pritzker has signed an ordinance banning more 250 people from gathering in an enclosed area and more than 500 people from gathering in an outdoor area until May 1. This means that the Cubs and White Sox might not be able to have home games in the month of April, which would lead to an unprecedented two and a half weeks on the road to start the season, or they would have to play their home games in empty stadiums. Playing games in an empty United Center could be the likely option for the Bulls and Blackhawks home games if the NBA and NHL seasons resume.
Another state that could be impacted is Ohio, where Governor Mike DeWine signed a similar ordinance and the Mayor of Cincinnati issued a state of emergency. The reason this is important is because the Reds are the only MLB team that starts every season at home, due to their historical significance as the first MLB team. The other teams in Ohio that could potentially face the same fate as those in Illinois are the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Columbus Blue Jackets.
America needs sports to feel some sense of normalcy and have a chance to enjoy some entertainment. The relief that Americans will feel once sports return will be noticeable and the unity among fans of every team will be stronger than before the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Every fan hopes this happens sooner rather than later.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.