Bringing sports back is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, we could all use the escapism from the dreary death toll spreading throughout America due to Covid-19, but on the other, we’ll have to hear whiny spoiled multimillionaire athletes pander and condescend about politics to honest hard working Americans.
And now we’re finally getting word on when we can expect sports to return from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
When it comes to sports, the television landscape has been pretty barren over the past month, but that changed when the 2020 NFL Draft kicked off late last month. It’s not even technically a sporting event – albeit the ramifications obviously affect future football games – and it was the highest-rated draft of all time.
According to data obtained by the NFL, the average audience during the Round 1 of the draft was 15.6 million, which was a 37-percent increase over the average audience from last year’s (11.4 million).
More impressively, the viewership number was a 26-percent increase over the 2014 NFL Draft, which featured Johnny “Football” Manzel. That NFL Draft produced an average audience of 12.4 million viewers that stood as the record until late April.
The average viewership was tallied based on the number of combined viewers from ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network, which all televised the draft.
The draft reached a total of more than 55 million viewers, which is approximately one-sixth of the country’s total population.
In other words, Americans under stay-at-home orders need something to fill their nightly viewing so anything even remotely associated with sports – even ESPN’s new 10-part Michael Jordan series “The Last Dance” – garnered the attention of millions looking to fill the void of canceled sports.
Just a couple of short weeks ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci – head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – sounded optimistic about life returning to normal soon, but now his hope has waned saying that it’s not a guarantee that sports will return soon without a guarantee of safety.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr. Fauci said, “Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”
The MLB, NBA, Nascar and NFL plan to open facilities in the near future and resume duties with an emphasis on abiding by social distancing guidelines. The leagues are even considered finishing the regular season (and playoffs) without fans in attendance.
It looks to be the only safe way to protect people from the deadly Chinese coronavirus.
But while these American leagues plan to return to normal soon, it might not be feasible to rush back to putting fans in the stadiums or arenas. Nevertheless, the majority of the money earned is from television rights deals. You don’t need fans literally watching from inside the television. It’ll just be an odd situation seeing the home team’s fans cheering them on.
Fauci continued, “I would love to be able to have all sports back. But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.”
We all want sports back but he’s correct that we have to issue rollout plans to make sure the most vulnerable are protected during this global pandemic. But don’t fret, sports will return to normalcy sometime in the near future.