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With a mask and a healthy distance? Welcome to the Covid 19 era of world sports

May 23, 2020

Organized sport is starting to reappear, but it won’t look like what we knew for a while.

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With a mask and a healthy distance? Welcome to the Covid 19 era of world sports
With a mask and a healthy distance? Welcome to the Covid 19 era of world sports

This story originally appeared in the World Economic Forum

By John Letzing, Digital Editor, Strategic Intelligence, World Economic Forum

A player from German soccer club Hertha Berlin recently raised his eyebrows when he seemed to be kissing a teammate in a 3-0 win and making fun of the guidelines related to corona viruses. However, the authorities said there were no sanctions because formal hugs were frowned upon but not strictly “prohibited”.

The resumption of the Bundesliga last weekend in front of the empty stadiums was an important stage in an uneasy and uneven race to restore world sport. There is no doubt that some games have never been interrupted, even though COVID-19 has consistently claimed a worldwide death toll that now exceeds 320,000 (for example, Belarusian football has passed at all times). However, the vast majority of organized sport has been drastically restricted by social distancing measures. And even after he returns, he probably won’t look exactly the same for a long time.

While German soccer players (mostly) do without group hugs, swimmers have prepared for virtual encounters, the National Soccer League has tried new face masks with surgical accessories and a soccer club Seoul has resorted to replacing fans with sex dolls.

While professional baseball teams played in front of cardboard cutouts in Taiwan, China, before a limited number of fans were allowed in recently, competition never started in other parts of the world. Major League Baseball in North America was scheduled to begin its season on March 26, the day the United States was declared the epicenter of the pandemic. However, last week the MLB issued new guidelines that called for players to spread out on the bleachers rather than the crowded benches during the games, leading to speculation that the game could begin soon. . Japan could also soon resume professional baseball in the country with the highest rank for the men’s version of the sport.

Image: World Economic Forum

The sports restriction had a big financial impact. The analysis suggests that the United States alone will generate approximately $ 12 billion in revenue.

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It can be difficult for some of the world’s most popular teams to keep their fans responsible while the pandemic continues. The Manchester United football club, for example, recently asked fans to stay away from closed games if the Premier League continues to play as planned.

Image: World Economic Forum

Not all spectator-friendly games have suffered. For example, the number of sports viewers has increased in the middle of coronavirus-related blocks. Although the slow return of more traditional sports may be encouraging to many people, concerns about the potential impact are increasing. Virologists have warned that, despite caution, resuming sporting events could mean resuming COVID-19.

For more context, here are links to other readings from the Strategic Intelligence platform of the World Economic Forum:

  • Playing football without fans can have a serious impact on results. According to the studies cited in this analysis, empty terrain can effectively lead to the home advantage being eliminated. (The conversation)
  • The football world according to COVID can learn something from the experiences of Korea, who played a World Cup qualifier in front of an empty stadium with 50,000 seats in Pyongyang last year. (The diplomat)
  • Baseball-hungry Americans are happy to agree to broadcast games from South Korea, but this author sees it as part of the return to normality that could lead people to a dangerous sense of complacency. (New Yorker)
  • Baseball has deep psychological roots in the country where it was invented. Historians claim that gambling has helped rural Americans maintain a sense of achievement in a rapidly industrializing world. (JSTOR Daily)
  • In some places, the lack of fans that have gathered at games could lead to better air quality. This analysis revealed a “meaty connection” between the peaks of poor air quality in Santiago and the big games that the national football team played in the Chilean capital. (Nature)
  • The vast majority of professional football clubs in the UK cannot survive without paying customers. However, this editorial argues that the government should not save clubs that have unrealistic plans to restart the game. (Institute for Economics)
  • Despite the delay in the start of the Chinese football season and the possibility of spectatorless games, FC Guangzhou Evergrande is pushing for the construction of a $ 1.7 billion stadium that would exceed the capacity of the legendary Barcelona Camp Nou. (RADII)

On the Strategic Intelligence platform you will find visualizations and sources for expert analysis on COVID-19, art and culture as well as hundreds of other topics. You need to register to see.

Image: World Economic Forum