March Sadness: Sports Coming to a Standstill



(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 04, 2020 Picture taken on March 4, 2020 shows cleaners wearing a protective suit, as they sanitise the seats of the San Paolo stadium in Naples. – Hiring is surging and wages are rising in the United States as the year begins, but the coronavirus is poised to infect the economy and hamper President Donald Trump’s re-election bid. Wall Street has tumbled in recent days as the outbreak spread and undermined the view that the US economy is inoculated against the danger. The White House has tried to downplay the impact, and Trump on march 6, 2020 even made the extraordinary claim that US businesses are benefitting from people staying in the country while predicting stocks would bounce back. (Photo by CIRO FUSCO / ANSA / AFP) / – Italy OUT

March 11 and 12, 2020, were some of the most upsetting days for sports fans in the history of sports thanks to something that can only be seen with a powerful microscope: COVID-19, a.k.a the Coronavirus. It started with the Italian top-flight soccer league suspending play until early April, which went unnoticed by those who don’t watch soccer here in the United States. The first major hit in the U.S. was that the NCAA announced that no fans would be in attendance at any of the March Madness games. It would only get worse from there. Many college basketball conferences announced the canceling of their tournaments, teams and schools were pulling coaches and recruiters off the road and telling them to return home, and then the big news broke around 9:30 p.m. on the east coast. Utah Jazz all-star Center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. 5 minutes later the NBA did the unthinkable, shocking the sports world by suspending play until further notice. People were in disbelief, a multi-billion dollar industry had practically just shut down. The next day, the NHL announced they were also suspending play until further notice and the MLB also announced they were suspending Spring Training and delaying Opening Day back for 2 weeks. The MLS announced they were suspending play and then many major soccer leagues all around the world made the same announcement. UEFA said that the Champions League and Europa League would be postponed until a further date as well. The final domino fell when the NCAA announced that they were canceling March Madness and all Winter and Spring sports championships. Sports fans around the world were in shock. No sports. No entertainment. Nothing to watch for the next couple of months. People flew to social media in order to voice their disappointments on these decisions. It seems as if most fans understand the mindset behind these sports leagues decisions but they are not willing to accept the idea of no sports for possible months.
No sports won’t only affect the fans, players, and teams, but sports broadcasting networks, such as ESPN, as well. It is unclear what these companies might do with no sports on T.V. to show. Will they show reruns of major sports games? Release documentaries? Show radio shows (even though they’re going to run out of topics to discuss)? NFL free agency was the only source of entertainment for sports fans and it did a pretty good job of distracting them from the craziness of the world around them. Other leagues have put minimums on suspensions such as the NBA (30 days) and MLB (2 weeks). This microscopic virus has caused for the world to be turned on its head, lives are being completely changed and thrown off course due to it and the only thing people can do are just wait and try to calm the storm.