Last March put a pause on live sports, leaving millions of fans wondering when they will be part of the action again. Over the months, national and collegiate sports have returned, albeit the number of fans in the stands is limited.
In 2021, we will see extensive safety measures put in place and limited attendance of fans might become a norm. Here is what we can expect next year to happen in sports.
Almost every major sport has returned. Cricket, Soccer, the NFL, WNBA, NHL, NBA, PGA Tour and even auto racing has made a comeback. But the scars of COVID can be seen resurfacing as some of the tournaments had to be called off.
The NFL had to postpone the tournament when several players and personnel of the Tennessee Titans tested positive for Corona Virus. Other sports saw setbacks for the same reason. The NCAA had to reschedule their games, the same happened with some of the soccer leagues as well.
Change in the games
Another change we witnessed was how the regular games were hosted in their own way. With stands almost empty and absence of the supportive roars from the fans, the players still pushed forward.
In 2021, sports with lesser or no fans might become the new normal as we have seen some sports already implementing this practice. The NHL, NBA and WNBA already hosted some of their title games in this manner. The US Open, the PGA Championship and The Masters were played with no spectators. Even some of the important championships like The British Open and Wimbledon were cancelled as well.
Another major change in the sports world was the postponement of the Tokyo Summer Olympics from 2020 to July-August 2021. It is the first time that the Summer Olympics is postponed. In wake of new outbreaks, it is still not decided whether Tokyo will get to hold the Olympics next summer or not.
There is no certainty of how sports will look like in 2021. According to Dr. Nate Favini, the medical lead at Forward healthcare services, it all comes down to testing.
He believes the more accurate testing for players and fans is needed to be done quickly and often. Presently, players are tested several times but due to false negatives, some positive cases might escape undetected.
Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author of Fiber Fueled believes that it is all about the sport we are dealing with. In games like NBA and NFL players are in close contact as compared to sports like golf.
According to BetJoe, abitcoin sportsbook,independent player sports are more likely to remain unaffected in 2021 while the team play sports will get stuck in the mud of it all.
Indoors vs. Outdoors Sports
Indoor sports are more likely to suffer in 2021. According to Baja Beach Fest co-founder Chris Den Uijl, indoor venues will remain largely empty until the fourth quarter of 2021. As there is no date insight on the release of COVID vaccination, it is entirely on the fans when they feel safe enough to attend live sports events like before.
Outdoor sporting events have better ventilation which means spectators are safer as compared to indoor venues. It doesn't mean that outdoor events cannot spread the virus, but the fans have a better fighting chance in ventilated areas.
Whether indoors or outdoors, sporting events in 2021 will have to implement safety measures like social distancing and masks as mandatory requirements. As the world changes along with the pandemic we can expect sports to look different next year.
Still, the spirit of sports and their love for their favourite teams, keep the fire ignited in fans as they wait for the day when they can again attend the games and cheer for their teams along with the roar of the crowd.