With the recent news that pro sports can return to the great state of California by June 1 in light of the easing of the coronavirus pandemic, we must be reminded that this is of course with no fans in the stands. While it’s exciting to think about sports returning to their respective fields or arenas, it’s still worrisome about the nature at which it will be done. For us, the fans, and for them, the (student) athletes.
Pro sports returning have been staggered across the world and across platforms. We’ve seen soccer return to Europe with great success, baseball return to Asia with renewed interest and tons of folks watching UFC events that previously wouldn’t have watched the leader in mixed martial arts. The WWE has even seen a surge in viewership as well.
One thing in common with all those events: they’ve not had fans in the stands.
And that seems to be OK.
Sure, collegiate sports draw the most passionate fans in the world. Sure, there’s something about 110,000 screaming fans packing a Big Ten stadium that you can’t mimic.
But there’s also something even more about the safety of our student-athletes and students who would attend these games in the future.
There’s no telling what would happen if we allowed fans in the stands, or put regulations in place to create social distancing in stadiums. There’s people fighting in grocery stores around the country over whether or not someone is wearing a face guard, so do we really think these regulations would work with a bunch of (very possibly inebriated) fans in college sport stadiums?
The answer to that question is a simple: no.
So in order to guarantee some sports this fall for your California Golden Bears, especially those that make the most money for television viewing (i.e. football), we can almost certainly count on at the very least no fans in attendance of these events. And frankly, that beats the alternative.
Now, I turn it over to you: Are you in favor of sports returning, safely of course, in lieu of fans being in the stands? Or are you of a different state of mind?