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Live sports were shut down last March leaving many to wonder when they would be able to enjoy a game in person again. Collegiate and national sports slowly came back, but there were limited fans in the stands and extensive safety measures put into place. 

Sports in 2021 might not look drastically different, but millions of people are holding out hope normalcy will return. We've got a look at what you can expect next year in sports.

The Comeback

Almost every major sport has returned. We've seen Major League Baseball, the NFL, the WNBA, NHL, WNBA, NBA, PGA Tour, and auto racing among a few others. Though the games have returned, we've also seen setbacks. 

The NFL announced their first postponement when the Tennessee Titans had numerous personnel and players tested positive for the virus. As if it was a domino effect, a few other games were also pushed back for the same reason. 

The NFL rolls with the punches rescheduling these games. The NCAA did the same, having to reschedule some games due to COVID-19.

Doing It Their Way

As sports came back, they held their regular games in their own way. There weren't many fans in the stands. The sound wasn't as roaring, but the players pushed forward. 

The NHL, WNBA, NBA were among those sports that ended with a title game. Some sports went on without fans in attendance, which may be normal for a while. 

The PGA Championship, US Open, and The Masters were played without any spectators. Some of these championships were canceled, like the British Open and Wimbledon. 

The Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed from 2020 to July-August 2021. This event has never been postponed. Only time will tell if Tokyo will get to hold the Olympics next summer.

An Unknown Future

The truth is that there is nothing set in stone that says what live sports will look like in 2021. Dr. Nate Favini, a medical lead at Forward healthcare services said it all comes down to testing

This means accurate testing so fans and players can be tested often and quickly. Players are tested numerous times, but false negatives could lead some with COVID-19 to fall through the cracks. 

Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author of Fiber Fueled says it comes down to the type of sport. NBA and NFL players are in close contact while golfers are able to play independently. 

We could see independent player sports trudge along while the team player sports get stuck in the mud of it all.

Indoors vs. Outdoors Sports

Baja Beach Fest co-founder Chris Den Uijl says he thinks any event that happens in indoor venues won't be stuffed with fans until the fourth quarter of 2021. Though it's impossible to give an exact date that events full of fans will be safe, there are a few factors to consider. 

There needs to be a vaccine and the number of COVID-related infections and deaths needs to be significantly lower. Outdoor sporting events have better ventilation than indoor events packed with people. 

This doesn't mean hosting outdoor events would stop the spread of the virus, but ventilated areas give spectators a fighting chance. These events could go on, but safety measures like masks and social distancing would still be put into place.

Sports in 2021 may look a little different than this year and a lot different than years in the past. Fans and players will have to watch the world as it changes along with the pandemic. 

Most fans cannot wait for the day they get to hang out in a packed venue cheering along with the roar of the crowd for their favorite player and team.

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