Coronavirus Has Changed the Landscape of Sports


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Parc de Princes, home of Paris Saint-Germain, held a UEFA Champions League game without fans on Wed. March 11

Locally, Domestically, Globally have been affected by COVID-19


COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected all walks of life around the globe. The most impacted among them all might be the global sports community.

Coronavirus precautions have included banning fans from venues, media members not allowed to enter locker rooms, and events being cancelled completely.

On Tuesday, SMCCD placed a ban on spectators attending games. Sports practices and games will continue as scheduled. This would affect 10 Skyline home baseball games held at the baseball field as well as many across California.

“Its gonna be kinda different playing with no fans but the games will continue.” said Dino Nomicos, Skyline’s baseball head coach. “That could change, it depends what the rest of the state is gonna decide.”

In San Francisco, the city announced a ban on gathering of more than 1,000 people for two weeks, which heavily affects both the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco Giants. This made the Warriors become the first NBA team to ban fans from home games. Before this ban was made, signs at the Chase Center were placed notifying that entering the arena could increase your risk of attracting COVID-19.

In addition to the city’s ban, the Giants announced that their exhibition game on March 24th against the Oakland A’s will not be played at Oracle Park.

Over in Santa Clara County, a similar ban was announced that will see San Jose Earthquakes and Sharks games without fans at their respective venues. The Earthquakes game on March 21 against Sporting Kansas City has been postponed with a rescheduled date coming in the near future. Three Sharks games have been announced that they will play in a closed SAP Center.

In a first of its kind joint statement, The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all nonessential personnel, including media, in response to the coronavirus crisis. They said they made the decision “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.”

Teams throughout the world are canceling or moving sporting events.

Most notably the NCAA will hold its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. The NCAA is looking to move the Final Four out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a smaller venue in Atlanta.

The Mariners will move home games out of Seattle through the end of March, following the state of Washington’s decision to ban large group events as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Other Seattle teams are also affected. The Seattle Sounders of the MLS announced Wednesday that their March 21 match against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field has been postponed. The XFL’s Seattle Dragons will play their game against the LA Wildcats on Sunday at the same field but without fans. The state of Washington has been hit the most with more than 250 coronavirus cases.

Arsenal’s Premier League match against Manchester City has been postponed after a number of the squad made “close contact” with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis two weeks ago. Marinakis was tested positive with COVID-19.

In Italy the government has been suspended indefinitely all sporting events across the country, that includes Serie A, the top flight soccer league that feature big name stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paulo Dybala.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia will be held without spectators, for the first time since the 1984 Olympics. Greece’s Olympic Committee said spectators would be excluded from both the dress rehearsal on Wednesday and the ceremony on Thursday.

Back states side, the NBA has mulled moving games from a city with a large coronavirus cluster to the away opponent’s arena if that city hasn’t suffered an outbreak or possibly neutral cities and sites.

Empty stadiums have also been the norm with many soccer games in Europe over the past few weeks

La Liga, Spain’s top soccer division announced that the next two weekends will be played without fans.

Ligue 1 in France will also be played behind closed doors or limited to 1,000 fans being able to attend, as their country continues to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

A pair of UEFA Champions League games were held in empty stadiums, one in Paris and the other in Valencia, Spain. More Champions League games are scheduled to be played next week in empty stadiums coming in three different countries, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

It is unknown how long or what more changes could be made throughout the world. Opening Day for MLB is less than two weeks away and The Masters golf tournament is next month is Georgia, yet it only seems to be expanding here in the United States and with more and more cases being confirmed in different states, the uncertainty looms.