The COVID-19 pandemic flipped the world of sports upside down
The COVID-19 pandemic seemed to shut down the world of sports almost overnight. Many guessed that with so many months without any sports, when sports eventually started up again, they would be more popular than ever. That, however, has not seemed to be the case.
According to an Oct. 16 article from The Washington Post, the viewership of the NBA Playoffs dropped by 50% from 2019 to 2020. Additionally, viewership of “golf’s U.S. Open was down 42%. The Kentucky Derby: 43%. The Stanley Cup finals: 61%,” per the article. These drops may be due to a variety of reasons facing the public this year. When sports finally did get revived, it seemed that there were almost too many sports to watch, thus viewership declined. As a result of overlapping time frames, people had to decide which sport they preferred to watch. According to an Oct. 8 USA Today article, “people are inundated with, ‘OK, I have football, do I really need to watch the NBA Finals? My mind is trained to watch that in June.’” A pandemic may not change the time of year that an individual will choose to watch a specific sport.
In-person sporting events have also been turned upside down. With restrictions regarding social distancing and sanitation, the business model of sports has changed. According to an April 9 article from the World Economic Forum, “there are three main income streams for sports leagues: broadcasting (sales of media rights), commercial (sponsorship and advertising partnerships) and match day revenue (ticketing and hospitality).” When the sports industry is shut down, there is a lack of income from television and game-day revenue.
The pandemic has caused the media to focus on new ways to engage the public. Reshowing archived content and documentaries are just some of the many attempts made to engage viewers.
As the pandemic rages on, different decisions have been made regarding how to safely resume sports seasons. The pandemic also presents new opportunities for controversy: a Nov. 10 article from the Justice explored following the Dodgers' winning the World Series and Justin Turner testing positive for the virus.