It seems like yesterday that we were laughing about the Coronavirus being the punchline to the end of humankind. A means to a joke we used to get a giggle out of our friends. However, over the course of a few days, it became apparent that this is a little more serious than we thought. One of the most telling signs on why this shouldn’t be taken so lightly was the way that it has affected the sporting business. Over the course of the past two weeks, almost every major sports league has shut down around the world, losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Major leagues in North America like the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS are just a few examples of organizations that have decided to suspend their seasons for at least one month. The reason is due to the large crowds that form at sporting events as well as the travel involved for sports teams. There have been over six athletes and coaches who have been infected in professional sports and that number is ongoing.
Professional sports are not the only leagues that are being cancelled, but also amateur and collegiate leagues. The TRU Wolfpack has felt the effects of the Coronavirus after it was announced on March 13th that all team practices and upcoming games would be suspended for 14 days.
“The events we have seen with COVID-19 are unprecedented. The steps are taken with March Madness, the major professional leagues postponing play, and then the cancellation of NCAA conference tournaments are all things we never thought we would see,” Curtis Atkinson, Director of Athletics at TRU stated. “In Canada, national organizations like U SPORTS and the CHL really started the process for how we would respond locally and on campuses across the country. When we saw the decisions being made by U SPORTS, national sport organizations, and provincial sport organizations, the decision to cancel our sports activities was quite easy.”
U-Sports initially planned on playing national championships with some simple precautions, then decided there would be no spectators, and finally cancelled them altogether. Through discussions with senior administration and athletic therapists, TRU followed suit and cancelled any form of sports outings. For now, there is no timeline on a return to normal activity and everything remains day-to-day.
“It’s impossible to say how the world of sport will be impacted going forward. While we care deeply about sport and its value, we have to keep things in perspective. Public health and safety is the number one priority and we will do whatever we can to support this,” Atkinson said.
It looks like sports fans will have to wait along with the rest of the world on how serious this virus becomes. This is history in the making and shows that human beings aren’t quite as invincible as we think we are.