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The Pandemic’s Effect On Sports

Photo by Vienna Reyes on Unsplash

The thought of having things changed at any moment is always scary. So much can change in a small amount of time. No one could have imagined how much things would change in the year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the whole world to go on lockdown, affecting several sectors. Among the many sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports industry has been impacted significantly and it must not be excluded.

The sports industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world. With the estimated value of US$ 500 billion (MYR$ 2.1 trillion), it experienced a diminishing drop in profits as one of the main sources of income in the sports industry is the sports fans. Since there are now no fans paying for tickets to attend these sporting events and supporting the athletes as they play on the field. The National Basketball Association (known as NBA) used to hold between 16,000-20,000 fans in a stadium. However, as the pandemic began to worsen, no fans and viewers were allowed to physically be at the stadiums to watch the NBA games. This was the same for other sporting events around the world. Without the cheers of thousands of sports fans in stadiums, sporting events are now not as they used to be.

With the entire world putting everything on pause, most of us are aware of the number of businesses closing down as a result of not being able to sustain themselves during these hard times. Nevertheless, we still do not see any sports organisations being affected. With the events like the Olympics and Paralympics being postponed for a year amidst hundreds of other notable sports events coming up, how are these sports organisations still sustaining themselves? These are huge organizations with funds to sustain them even when catastrophic events happen. Although taxes and interest rates were decreased by governments, it did not take long until they were forced to resume events so that income would be generated in order to pay hundreds of staff members and utility bills. Sponsorships also played a huge role in this pandemic. Without them, athletes will also have trouble sustaining themselves.

Moreover, many may have wondered how athletes maintain their physical strength during the lockdown, asking if their skills will deteriorate or if their stamina will decrease amongst many more questions. Certainly, players did not have the opportunity to play aggressively for about a year, and many may not even have the right facilities in their compounds. However, what they can do to maintain their mind, body and soul is to work out every day. Famous athletes have also been posting a lot of virtual workouts alongside their personal trainers, teammates and even families that live abroad. It just depends on how determined you are to maintain your performance. This was also how several virtual workout events were innovated by gyms and fitness centres to sustain their business. Over the months, not just sports but many other industries have ventured into the social media world as they are also aware that it is what the present and future are all about!

As the pandemic started to be properly contained in certain countries and restrictions were eased, the sports community had to take full advantage of it. Everything started to open up but with the new normal, things could not be done the way they were before the pandemic. Strict guidelines were put in place at every sports event. Certain sporting events did not allow fans to watch matches in the stadiums where they took place while some others allowed fans to spectate matches in-person but in limited numbers and all audience members had to practice social distancing and have either tested negative for COVID-19 or have been fully vaccinated. According to the Washington Post, all athletes competing in the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 are tested frequently and if an athlete or team tested positive, they would not be allowed to compete. Fans who have no chance to meet their favourite athletes face to face could only watch and support them through televisions and any online platforms. Sports organisations have to be really strict with their rules and guidelines as they have to prioritise the health and well-being of the staff, athletes and other people at these sporting events. They would also have to comply with the standard of procedures imposed by the local government.

Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic can be unpredictable and come without a warning. This is why it is important to be adaptable to sudden changes in circumstances. The sports community was one of the areas that were impacted the most. With events like the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020, which was postponed to mid-2021, one can be hopeful in being able to experience their favourite sporting events like they used to once the pandemic is over.

By Kerwin Chong


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