Sport is going through the roughest period ever. The coronavirus pandemic shut down pretty much the entire world, while tennis tournaments and other sports events are experiencing a crisis worse than during World War II.
Even though we’re only a month into this forced off-season, we can already predict that in the best-case scenario we’ll have some tennis late this year. What’s more, even when it becomes safe enough to organize large gatherings of people, international travel restrictions may still be in place and the financial struggles the majority of people are experiencing right now will prevent them from spending on anything other than essentials.
A recent poll conducted in the USA by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business only confirms the grim future of sport. Asked whether they would attend sports events before the development of a coronavirus vaccine, 72% of Americans said they would not attend, with 12% saying they would if social distancing could be maintained. Only 13% said they would feel safe attending as in the past.
Those who identify as sports fans, at all levels of interest, line up closely with the general population, as only 61% of them would attend tournaments without a vaccine for the coronavirus.
As for the possibility of playing games with no fans present, 76% said they would watch broadcasts of the games with the same interest as before, with only 16% saying they would be less interested and 7% saying they would be more interested.
When it comes to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 84% felt the IOC acted appropriately, with only 14% saying they acted too quickly.
The Seton Hall Sports Poll was conducted this week among 762 Americans across the USA on both landlines and cellphones. The Poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.
What are your predictions for tennis in 2020 and 2021? How long will we feel the consequences of this coronavirus pandemic?
Marija, you made a good point in your comment on the blog about Kristie Ahn. I tend to agree with you that it may be a while before attendance will get back to normal for the WTA. When a vaccine is readily available to everyone, then it will get better especially for sports like tennis and golf. The ladies of both the WTA and LPGA are so endearing to the fans. That is what will keep me supporting both. The advantage that the LPGA has is you can walk the course and keep yourself separated. They do have stands but I never use them as I get good exercise walking with the players.
Jim, I’m sure that everything will get back to normal and tennis will survive, but not this year and there will be some casualties on the way. However, some good changes in the sport could happen, like the change to offer better monetary compensation to lower-ranked players.
No sports means the businesses that depend on the games and events near the stadium sites are also suffering cause they have limited income right now. It will be interesting to see how quickly the sports world can get back to normalcy after this. With regards to the vaccine for the virus and attending sports, the vaccine is at least a year away still and they just need a quick test that people can take going into events.
P!nky, most businesses are suffering now, including sports. I agree that it will be interesting to see how this will unfold in terms of tennis. As far as I can see, we will be lucky to have any tennis this year.