Sport is a contributor both to social and economic development. This is why Governments have widely recognized the role of sports. Right from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has spread to nearly all countries in the world. In this regard, several measures have been put in place to curtail the spread of the pandemic. These include social distancing measures, business lockdowns, and disrupting many life aspects, including sports and physical activities. The policy highlights the real challenges that the pandemic has posed to the sporting world. It proceeds to recommend different stakeholders and governments on the safe reopening of the sporting events. This will be done during the pandemic, and the period after the pandemic is long gone. In this article, we will look at how a pandemic changed sports completely and sports after lockdown.
Pandemic Changed Sports: What Is The Impact of COVID-19 on Sporting Events?
To understand how a pandemic changed sports and sporting events, we are going to lay our discussion on the two points below;
- Sporting Federations and Organizations
As well as intergovernmental organizations, governments are likely to offer sports federations and clubs worldwide safety-related guidelines. This will apply to future sporting events to guarantee a safe working condition. In this case, all stakeholders will work cooperatively as a team to address the current shortcomings. What’s more, this will facilitate future sports events for the safety and enjoyment of everyone.
- Professional Sport Ecosystem
The sports ecosystem comprises of producers, fans, businesses, broadcasters, players, and owners. They will need to develop innovative solutions to curb the negative impacts that the pandemic has brought in the sporting world. This will include coming up with ways to engage with the fans for a safe sporting event in the future. They will also have to maintain the workforce and develop new operating models and venue strategies.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity and Well-being
Below is how a pandemic changed sports in terms of physical activities and well-being;
Supporting Physical Activity
The government must collaborate with healthcare services, civil society organizations, and schools to support physical activities. Enhancing access to online resources is going to facilitate the sporting activities that should be essential where available. All the same, low-tech and no-tech solutions should be sought for people who have no internet access if possible. It is advisable to come up with flexible and consistent daily routines, including physical exercises. This will help to deal with the restlessness and stress.
Research and Policy Guidance
The UN system should support governments as well as other stakeholders. This will help to guarantee effective recovery as well as the reorientation of the sporting sector. Apart from that, it will greatly strengthen the ability of sports to attain sustainable peace and development. This should be done through the UN’s sports policy instruments and other mechanisms. Apart from that, scientific research, as well as higher education, will be inevitable pillars. People can rely on these to inform as well as orient future policies.
Technical Cooperation and Capacity Development
UN entities, governments, among other stakeholders, have a role to play in this. They must ensure to provide capacity development along with technical cooperation services. These will aid in supporting the development as well as the implementation of the national policies. They will also support the best sports use approaches in advancing the health and well-being of individuals. This will prove to be much needed, especially during the covid-19 era.
Outreach and Awareness-Raising
The UN entities, governments, and sporting entities are responsible for disseminating WHO and other guidance. The guidance will be on an individual as well as collective measures that will counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Measures are required to be taken to reach those communities that have limited to no internet access or social media. These communities can be easily accessed by cascading the sports education pyramid downwards. Escalating this pyramid will offer important feedback that will help identify the needs and share specific solutions. Even though athletes are affected by this pandemic, they remain key players. They must ensure that audiences, especially the young ones, understand the risks and also respect the guidance.
Promoting Positive Social Attitudes and Behavior
Sports education remains a compelling means of doing things, especially during this locked down. This will include fostering physical fitness, social attitudes, and mental well-being among populations. Sports education tools and instruments like physical activity and sport remain highly relevant as well. They will ensure that online physical activity modules that are under deployment actually comply with different qualities. These include gender equality, non-discrimination, and safety & quality standards.
What Are Sporting Events Affected by The Pandemic?
The outbreak of the coronavirus has really affected sporting events all over the world. As the number of covid-19 cases has continued rising in every part of the world, main sporting events have been either canceled or postponed. Let’s have a look at how a pandemic changed sports and the effect of the pandemic on different sports below;
- The football league season in South Korea resumed on May 6 after weeks of postponement.
- In Germany, Bundesliga resumed the season on 16th May after a 2-moth halt.
- The EPL, Serie A in Italy, Turkey’s Super Lig, and Spanish La Liga resumed June after a suspension of almost 3 months.
- The MLS (Major League Soccer) football league in the United States extended its postponement until June 8 owing to the pandemic.
- On 12th April, the Confederation of African Football (CAF)postponed 2-legged semi-finals that were supposed to happen in May.
- Football in Russia was also suspended after the union of Russian Football suspended all competitions.
Japan’s Prime Minister and the international Olympic committee concluded that the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 had to be postponed. After holding out for so many weeks as the IOC, this decision was arrived at after holding out, and local organizers received increased pressure from athletes and sports federations. The event is now expected to take place starting from July 23rd to August 8th in 2021.
- Organizers said that the conventional Berlin athletics meeting wouldn’t occur with no spectators later in the year should the restrictions remain in place. Instead, the 79th edition is expected to happen on 13th September, according to reliable sources.
- The athletics championships anticipated to happen in Oregon in August 2021 were postponed to July 2022.
- The Diamond League also postponed its first 5 meetings that were to be held in May and April.
- The ITF, International Tennis Federation, said that 900 tournaments all over its circuits remain postponed and planned to lay off half of its staff.
- The Wimbledon tennis championship in 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This happens for the first time since World War II.
- The French open was also postponed to September 20, according to organizers.
- There was a huge disappointment for the tennis fans back in California, given that BNP in Indian Well was scrapped off.
The boxing heavyweight title between Kubrat Pulev and Briton Anthony Joshua scheduled for 20th June was postponed.
Tokyo boxing qualifiers for Oceania and Asia were transferred from China to Jordan. The American, European, and the final world boxing tournaments for Olympic Games were suspended.
- The top 2 clubs’ basketball competitions for Europe were terminated without naming the winner after the pandemic.
- The 2020-2021 Eurocup and Euroleague seasons were scheduled for October 1st and September 30th as well.
- On March 11, NBA said that it would be suspending its season till further notice after a player tested positive. Later is was confirmed that the season would start on 30th
- The WNBA event was still to be held on April 17th according to schedules but with no players. Fans of media attendance.
- The test tour of New Zeeland o Bangladesh that was scheduled for August remained postponed after the pandemic.
- England’s 2-match test series was also rescheduled for next year, January.
- World Cup Challenge Men’s cricket that was scheduled in Malaysia on March 16th was also postponed.
- The beginning of the T20 tournament that is a premier league in India, was pushed to April 15th.
- The cricket board in Pakistan announced that the super league scheduled for Match 19th remained postponed.
- A testing tour to Bangladesh for Australia that was planned for June was also postponed.
5 Ways COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change Sports Permanently
When discussing how a pandemic changed sports in the coming days, these are some of the changes that you can expect;
Belt-Tightening in College Athletics
College expenditure in major conferences, particularly football, had already spiraled out of hand in the past decade. In this regard, public institutions used ridiculous amounts of money on coaches, stadiums, recruitment efforts, and facility upgrade. This was aimed at outdoing opponents and also impress prospects. Successful programs were spent and made the most, which brought too much pressure on their universities to focus on winning. What resulted was blank checks and different mounting concerns even before the pandemic came knocking.
Fewer Teams, Period
This pandemic might enhance a faster expansion of the major sports leagues because owners will need cash in the new markets. Basically, there will be lesser teams in the long run in the minor leagues and the college levels. For instance, minor league baseball was already facing the possibility of teams losing some affiliations in the future. They have to bear with the absence of the 2020 season, which threatens their survival. The teams in minor leagues in different sports might face similar shortcomings when the pandemic continues growing.
Changes in League Calendars
They arranged 2020 postseason for the NHL, and NBA might last into the fall. This, therefore, means that it will naturally delay the starting of the 2020-2021 seasons. After this happens, you should not expect it to go back to normal, and this is basically how a pandemic changed sports. In the future, we are likely to see the season start during the winter, while playoffs can go into the late summer. All the same, the NBA was planning changes even before the pandemic. In short, the league calendar is going to change at last.
Increasing The Virtual Space
Another way of how a pandemic changed sports is the increase in virtual meetings. In 2020, Arthur Smith, the Titans offensive coordinator, noted the role of players in the zoom meetings. This is a new reality that is not going anywhere soon. Just like most businesses in the past few months, teams are also experiencing the need for virtual meetings for convenience and productiveness. Even without the prospect visits, recruiting college coaches never stopped. NFL teams actually put rookies through some offseason program without necessarily setting feet in the facilities. Consequently, most pro teams and college teams have taken virtual media interviews. All of these will happen in the future to save money and time.
Declining sports attendance has been a troubling trend all over the world. Even though fans might resume to the sporting events at an unknown time, watching from home might be a trend to emulate even after the pandemic. This will be the case, especially for the young generation that had already stopped attending these games anyway.
Much as we would like it to leave soonest possible, the coronavirus does not really care what we want. On a sad note, this pandemic is still in charge as of now. Basically, we are learning to co-exist with this virus since there is no other choice. All the same, the longer this pandemic remains around, the more it affects a way of living, including sporting events. At last, we shall emerge victorious over the virus, but things will never be the same again. In this article, we have discussed how a pandemic changed sports and sports after lockdown. Every sports enthusiast, in this case, must therefore brace themselves for these changes.