Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped pretty much every aspect of society in 2020. From festivals to presidential debates, it is clear that the impact that COVID-19 has had on society is big. One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic is on sports.
As early as January in China, sporting events were shut down due to a government mandated quarantine. Once the pandemic was starting to spread around the world, in February, many countries issued mandates for sporting events to go behind closed doors, or without fans. As the pandemic progressed, they were cancelled entirely. Between the middle of March and June, virtually no sporting events took place, and there were many worries that the seasons that were halted couldn’t even be completed. Truth be told a lot of uncertainty was in the air at the time.
Fast forward to June, the pandemic’s effects slowed down. Things started to open back up, and many leagues around the world released plans to continue their seasons. In England, the Premier League resumed on June 16 with no fans in attendance. In the U.S., multiple leagues, including the NBA and MLS, set up “bubbles” in July at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Teams and players weren’t allowed to leave until they were eliminated from competition. These “bubbles” proved effective as infection was low, and the seasons of the respective leagues could resume without interruption.
Throughout the summer and entering fall, the COVID-19 pandemic got better in some places, to the point where fans were even allowed back in on a limited capacity basis. France was the first to open up, with a maximum of 7,000 fans allowed to attend games. As many more countries are starting to reopen, more fans are being allowed to attend games not in just their own countries, but even around the continent. In Europe, the UEFA Super Cup was played in Budapest, Hungary between Bayern Munich from Germany and Sevilla from Spain with approximately 15,000 fans in attendance. This marked a turning point of the pandemic around the world: a return back to normal.
All in all, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on many things around the world, and sports are no exception. With postponed or even cancelled seasons, no fans and the somber fact that this may be the reality for a long time, it is without a doubt that sports has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.