Aros wrote:There is no other professional sport that needs the energy of the fans in the stands other than the NFL to me. Baseball? Meh. Sure, go ahead. It wouldn't be that different without fans. But imagine the Seahawks playing a critical division game against the Rams or 49ers in late December....
The NBA is in the same boat. Late season and playoff games without fans is unthinkable. And the fans are right up on the court. Even the nosebleeds aren't that far away. I actually like going to NBA games better than NFL games at this point because unless you're really willing to pay serious cash to sit close at a game, it's actually better on TV.
Baseball? It's boring. I realized after many years the point was to just go hang out and get drunk and eat some crap. It's not a "thinking man's game" any more than any other sport (watching formations and calls at an NFL game and then the breakneck execution is way more mentally stimulating). Baseball without fans isn't that weird because almost all game, every game, the fans are just chilling in the stands, often just clapping and many just not paying attention.
But even without fans I think the challenge to having games even with just players and staff are insurmountable. We still have no treatment for the disease, much less a vaccine. There are enormous staffs that have to functions in addition to the players, and they aren't all lower risk profiles.
It all boils down to the following:
1) What happens when players or staff start testing positive? Do they go on the injury list for weeks? What if it spreads in a single team? Do they have massive injury lists due to exposure? Can teams function when many staff members were exposed and now have to sit at home?
2) What happens if a player or staff member falls seriously ill and is permanently medically damaged or dies? Where I work we've lost some effectiveness, but we're lucky in that we can continue to operate remotely in a reasonable capacity. We're starting to try to phase some people back into the buildings for critical functions. But if someone just decided that everyone should just go back, and I didn't oppose that decision (I'm responsible for a good number of the people), and someone dies or has long-term injuries because of it, I'd have a hard time living with that.
Until we get a serious medical breakthrough on the treatment front, I'm just not seeing things going well. They might even try to start it up with no fans. But even in Germany, where they've had amazing contact tracing and containment, they recently started up their soccer league again. And they have a single team with multiple cases. We're not on Germany's level, and we think 32 teams from across the country are going to just operate? Even if we sequester all 32 teams in a secure facility for 17 weeks, it's a hard thing to do.
Once we hit March and it was clear where the world was headed with this, I've been very careful to be overly optimistic. I'm just not seeing any professional sports starting and keeping operating, even without fans, until there's a significant change in our ability to treat this disease.