As the country and world were shuttered in March, few things were spared. What was first brushed off as a nothing-burger quickly escalated to a pandemic.

The COVID-19 virus took the world by surprise, and major institutions, businesses, and cities were forced to limit their exposure or shut down altogether. Even professional sports were forced to end their seasons abruptly.

The National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) ended their seasons; the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) suspended all sports, conference tournaments, and even canceled the men’s basketball national championship tournament in March; and Major League Baseball (MLB) ended spring training and suspended the start of the season.

Millions of people were affected by these moves all over the country, all to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

What Are the Repercussions?

The immediate repercussions of the suspension and delay of major sporting events are that the athletes are left in the lurch wondering if when/if they will get to play again.

Hundreds of thousands of ancillary workers that rely on the sporting events for their livelihood are left wondering where the next paycheck will come from.

Thousands of stadium workers, team employees, and support staff, reporters, and sportscasters are left without an income while everything is shut down. The ripple effects of canceling a sports season are massive, and the true, lasting effects of it won’t be known for a while.

What we do know is that while we are all stuck at home, there are no games to watch unless you want to know who won Super Bowl XX in 1986 (spoiler alert…it was the Chicago Bears).

Will There Be Sports Without Fans?

Conversations are ongoing about what to do next. League commissioners are talking with government officials to try and figure out what, if anything, can be done to get people back on the field of play.

One solution being bandied about is to play the games in front of no one. They are talking about not letting fans into the stadium to watch the games.

There is also talk about, in the case of baseball, having the season in a single location like Arizona, and not letting fans attend. In the case of baseball, and if it lasts longer football, the revenue that the league and teams get from television contracts is more than what they get at the gate.

This is especially true for football, which plays only 16 regular-season games. Airing the games on TV will bring the flow of cash roaring back into the coffers for both leagues even though no one is there in person watching.

What might that look like, though? It will be odd, to say the least. Would the greatest moments in sports history be the same if there was no one to cheer on the players? It’s hard to tell, but we might soon find out.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently held its signature event WrestleMania in an empty arena. There was a lack of energy at the pre-taped event because the fans and wrestlers usually feed off each other, creating an electric atmosphere in the stadium.

The ratings for the event were good, but there’s no denying something was missing. We'll have to see how things go as the world moves forward battling the coronavirus. 

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