As many of you are painfully aware – live sports has taken a back to seat to this whole pandemic thing. ESPN and FOX have done their best with throwing in some E-Sports tournaments, and some Korea baseball, which I enjoyed. Now it seems everyone is coming back, with soccer of all sports, leading the way and showing that it can be done safely and successfully.
March 11, 2020 – NBA suspended all activity. That lead to MLB suspending it’s spring training, and the NCAA cancelling whatever season it had left. Now here we are 4 months later, and the sports world is planning it’s amazing and most welcome comeback.
NASCAR, PGA Golf, European soccer and the MLS have all resumed play and seem to be doing just fine, and of course, they are under a medical microscope. NBA officially tips off July 30 from Walt Disney World, where players, coaches, support staff and broadcasters have all been living in a confined “bubble”, cutting off or limiting their exposure to the outside world. If there is no COVID in the bubble – then there will be no COVID in the NBA. It is a COVID safe bubble where they are restricted in meeting and seeing people who are not under said bubble.
A little less weird is the MLB – they will be enjoying their Opening Day this Thursday, July 23rd. There will be a double header on ESPN and a quadruple-header on Fox on Saturday, July 25.
The great and sometimes annoying Bob Costas will no longer be the voice of the MLB Network – Bob has jumped ship to CNN this year. Where it is said he will work on sports related stories. Which we all know is probably not going to be true.
The big behemoth, the big kahuna the biggest and most expensive question mark of them all is the NFL. Will it come back on time, and how will it do so.
So far no words and no plans were laid out for the public or players. We know the players have tweeted about a safe return, that they desire a safe return, they are worried about their families, and their own safety. Everyone wishes the NFL to come back in a safe and responsible manner. Exactly how they do that is still under consideration. Now it is about Mid-July, they usually start camp in August, let’s see if that gets pushed back, or just plain cancelled.
The NFL has had plenty of time to deal with this crisis. Actually, they had the entire off season to observe and plan for August. It is painfully obvious they have not written a Plan A, Plan B or Plan C in these past 5 months.
Between March and June, without live sports, TV networks have lost $2.6 Billion in revenue. The winners when live sports comes back will not be the streaming services. Instead it will be ESPN, FOX and ViacomCBS that will garner the extremely high ratings and the astronomical advertising revenue. In fact, experts say the streaming services should enjoy their popularity now, because once live sports comes back, it will come back to tv stations, not streaming channels, and some subscriptions may indeed fall to the wayside. College football as well, will be a big plus for tv networks, something a lot of streaming services just can not compete with. Will all these streaming services survive the onslaught that is coming with live sports – something that we have missed dearly – or will some of them fold under the pressure. Only time will tell.
See ya here next Thursday!