We are now passed the mid-point of the year 2020. Things always change after six full months, but no one could have predicted that things would change this much. Global events have a way to make sure of that. The world was never the same after Nine Eleven. The world will never be the same after the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What sets this pandemic apart from those that came before is technology. It seems obvious to say but let’s put it right out on the table. The world of relatively instant communication (and in some aspects 24-hour dedicated news channels) has had both positive and adverse effects. Obviously the positives are getting the word out. What to do. Wear masks. Socially distant. The negatives have been disinformation. Playing down the seriousness of what is happening in order to get back as quickly as possible to the way things were. A foolish notion. There is no going back.
In many respects professional sports is an excellent example. The National Hockey League [NHL] is still determined to have an adjust playoff procedure and award the Stanley Cup. This going against the daily increases of COVID cases in the hot spots around the country. Pick your sport. Hockey? Golf? Baseball? There are still new cases daily in spite of precautions. Obviously the driving force is money. The incredible financial loss I’m sure will be staggering if there are no seasons, but at the same time I would guess that pro sports is struggling to comprehend that, in this pandemic situation, they’re like everyone else. Everyone has lost something during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every line of business has been effected. Every bottom line has been effected. Every household budget has been effected. Why should pro sports be exempt? I’m sure the argument would be that they have been by the shorten seasons, but when I see new contracts continuing to be awarded I would hesitate to imply that their financial stability has not been ruined, but rather can be liken to turf toe. No. People have endured heavy financial hardships during COVID. People have lost jobs in some cases permanently. There is no recovering from something like this. A new action must be taken because no one was prepared for this.
The NHL is determined to have a playoff. Not for the Stanley Cup but because it makes financial sense, not practical sense, to do so. This pandemic is not that far removed than the 1919 Stanley Cup Champion – of which there was none. The outbreak of the Spanish Flu forced the series cancellation.
I’m only pontificating here, but I wonder if this is the start to a more financial realignment of professional sports as a whole. Athletes sign these multi-million dollar deals because their names bring in an even greater mind boggling volume of money, but if there is one constant in the universe nothing, absolutely nothing lasts for ever. This could be the seeds of a a rollback, a market adjustment, to the new normal. Decreased attendance. Decreased market share. Decreased revenue. When one does a review revenues in professional sports have only increased in the century since the last pandemic. Athletes and owners in all the sports were making too much money and seeing the revenue charts go up that they never considered the “what if” scenario. What if revenue just … stops. Instantly stops.
That’s what has happened in this pandemic. The economy. Socializing. Everything just stopped. When it reopens there will be no going back. Adjustments will have to be made, and generally speaking professional sports will have to financially realign themselves to adapt. Players’ unions will fight, but the writing is already on the wall. Ownership will have to scale back in some form or cease operations. Time will tell.
Yes, a lot has happened since January 1, 2020, and it is a safe bet that 1/11/2021 will be far different that seven seven.
Take care of yourself. Socially distance. Wear a mask, and be safe everyone.