The Coronavirus pandemic has been tough on sports fans, especially here in the states. Only one sport, in one country has had live sporting events with a full capacity: Rugby in New Zealand. Although sports fans have not been able to attend live sporting events, there have been a plethora of sporting events to watch if you are someone who likes to enjoy all sports. The first major sporting competition to come back was the Korean Baseball League or the KBO League. Here we saw the debut of cardboard fan cutouts and what games would be like without fans. Next came one of the world’s biggest soccer leagues: The German Bundesliga. Fans around the world were treated with a thrilling title chase that ultimately saw German juggernaut Bayern Munich winning their eighth straight Bundesliga title. Shortly after this, European Soccer was back in full effect. Fans around the world watched the Premier League, England’s first division soccer league, and witnessed a fantastic race to clinch for the top 4 spots in the league.
Back on this continent we saw the formation of bubbles for two of the “Big 4” leagues; the NHL and NBA. The NHL opted for two bubbles in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Edmonton. The NHL decided to play in Canada partially because the country had a better grip on handling the pandemic. The league also altered its typical playoff format, so that every game in the bubble would matter. On the other hand, the NBA played 8 regular-season games in their bubble. The National Basketball Association decided to set up a bubble at the world’s happiest place: Disney World. 21 teams were invited to the bubble, with 16 qualifying for the playoffs. Major League Baseball shortened its season to 60 games, changed doubleheaders, and extra-innings rules. However, MLB decided not to form a bubble. As a result, two teams, the Miami Marlins, and St. Louis Cardinals suffered major COVID breakouts. However, the league dealt with those punches and has continued the push towards the end of the season.
Two major college conferences have canceled their fall sports season: The Big 10 and Pac 12. This means that these schools will not play college football this season, a major loss for athletic departments. Estimates say that larger college football programs, such as the Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa football programs, will incur losses of over 100 million dollars. To combat this, some schools may opt for loans or they may be forced to cut sports. The University of Iowa has already cut four sports programs: men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis. The country’s biggest sports league, the National Football League, has yet to announce a bubble but has made some changes for the pandemic. Many teams have announced they will not be able to host fans this year, and other teams have said they have a reduced capacity. The league is set to kick off on September 10th.
By Tanay Desai