Sports Slowly Make Their Way Back to Air Time

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artwork by Owen Megura

Amadu Tadesse, Staff Writer

 With sports being gone for over two months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, some are starting to trickle back with no fans and strict rules to limit the spread of the disease. Although many fans will be disappointed at not being able to support their favorite teams in person, they can still tune in to the broadcasts and support these teams from home.

   The first major sporting event to return in the United States was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Returning with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida, fans were able to finally see their favorite fighters back in action. With this return, there were many precautions taken in the arena. The 15,000 seat Vetern Memorial Arena was completely empty and anyone outside the ring had to wear a mask and be socially distanced. With all these precautions taken, there were still some scares: Mixed Martial Artist Roanld Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the arena and had to be taken out. These scares may have left some competitors concerned but they did not speak out. President of UFC Dana White explained in an interview, “If a fighter says something that isn’t true… if he says we didn’t test anyone for this… that would [violate the agreement]… but if he said something that was true, his opinion, then that is different.”

   NASCAR recently opened up some races with new rules and safety guidelines to keep their competitors happy and safe. NASCAR announced their new races will be one-day events with no practices before and no qualifying races either. They believe this way fans will still get to enjoy the sport while competitors will be safer having only one day of competing with no hotels needed. One of the biggest controversies surrounding the comeback is that NASCAR plans to have no on-site testing for anyone participating. NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations John Bobo commented on the concern, “Those tests remain in short supply. Getting results can take two to three days. Really, those tests should be targeted for people most in need.” Although NASCAR isn’t testing on-site, they still have many other precautions to limit the spread to COVID-19.

    Outside of the United States, some sports are also coming back. The Bundesliga which is the top tier soccer league in Germany has returned. The Premier League, the top tier of English soccer, has also returned to small team training. In Germany, the Bundesliga plans to finish off their season in the coming month with all teams back playing in empty stadiums. The Bundesliga has taken many precautions as well, with everyone off the field wearing a mask, six feet apart, and both teams coming out from separate tunnels. With regards to the Premier League, officials have no planned date of return. However, teams have resumed training in small groups at the club training grounds. Junior Jason Rubin touched on his thoughts about the restart. “I’m really excited for the teams to be training again. It’s still disappointing that they aren’t playing games, but we at least know we may have something to look forward to in the future,” he stated.

   Although fans may be disappointed by the continuously delayed return of their favorite sports and teams, it’s only good news that some sports are returning in the meantime, as it signals the future return of more. Safety is still everybody’s number one concern, and before any sports start back up, it must be clear that stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the top priority.