Coronavirus pandemic has brought sports to a total hault
By S Ganguly
New Delhi: The roads of the world are silent. Everyone packed to their homes, certain exceptions of course. Movement, for a change, is not good for health and economic goals have taken the back seat when compared to the health concerns.
Sports in these times have come to a total hault. Most high profile tournaments whether it is the Premier League in England, the NBA, the Euro 2020, French Open, or even the high profile Olympics have either been pushed back, cancelled or would be played behind closed doors.
The sports business is a loss making business and one can't begin to imagine the devastating ways in which it will impact the sporting scenario in the country.
Let's talk about India first. Each year millions of fans in the country and several millions worldwide welcome the cash-rich Indian Premier League with record fandom and the break the record set by viewership in the previous years and tournaments.
Could you imagine how much loss would the richest cricketing league in the world- the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with have to bear in case the IPL does not happen this year?
A media report claims that the loss is estimated to be around 10,000 crores and the actual amount might even turn out to be much more.
This is one of the key reasons why the governing body was so adamant on keeping the IPL on schedule but the spread of the corona virus pandemic left no option for the organisers and they had to postpone the tournament to remain in sync with the government's directive.
The economic and financial losses are only one of the many issues that the sporting business would be facing this year, the other major issue that are guaranteed to face is the international scheduling of tournaments.
This may not affect IPL because a cancellation of the tournament this year means cancellation, next year that year's edition would be played but the postponement of some events which are played once in two years or quadrinnial events will in turn impact other tournaments that have already been scheduled for those later dates.
For example with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics which was originally scheduled to happen in July 2020 to July 2121, the world Athletics championship has now been forced to postpone as well and this is only the beginning.
Among many others stakeholder in sports , the primary are obviously the sports persons themselves and the COVID-19 crisis is sure to have an impact on players physical and mental health and some might turn out to be career ending ones.
Coming back to Indian Premier Legaue, had the tournament opener scheduled to be played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings gone ahead as per the original schedule, MS Dhoni would have played his first match in 8 months on 29 March.
But with him out of international action since India's world cup exit and the next IPL potentially 1 year away, is this the end of road for MS Dhoni, we might never know.
We also don't know for sure how long will it take to contain the spread of Coronavirus. 3 months, 6 months or 1 year- we don't know.
Suppose it takes 1 year will the likes of Federer, Roanldo be able to come back on the field with the same intensity with almost zero match practice during this time.
Thus, the Pandemic is sure to give a massive amount of headache to those involved in the sporting business.
Everyone eagerly awaits for the spread of Coronavirus to end and watch high quality sporting action in a packed Stadium with much excitement and love.