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  • Let's talk about the biggest comeback in sports history.

  • After the coronavirus pandemic cancelled

  • months of games, tournaments and races

  • athletes are starting to compete again.

  • Major sports had to come back.

  • Being away was getting expensive.

  • So is it all worth the risk?

  • How have athletes been affected?

  • What about the fans?

  • And will sports ever be the same again?

  • The Great Depression, two world wars

  • hurricanes and wildfires

  • they've all, to some extent, derailed the big sports.

  • But nothing like this pandemic.

  • Putting an actual number on the financial hit is hard.

  • But we're talking billions.

  • It's an industry that affects so many others

  • and on a global scale.

  • Not just in lost team revenue but for the stadiums

  • and arenas, the TV rights, tourism, travel, retail

  • services, betting and all the rest of it.

  • Now if we just look at US stadiums alone

  • and the salaries of the people who work there

  • people like the hot dog sellers, T-shirt vendors

  • cleaners, and security staff

  • the pandemic is expected to wipe out

  • about $370 million in people's wages.

  • So the urge for sports to come back is strong.

  • But let's not forget why they were banned in the first place.

  • Remember how bad things got in Italy?

  • For a while there the town of Bergamo

  • was one of the hardest hit places in Europe.

  • They traced the spread of the virus to a football match

  • in Milan in February between Bergamo's team

  • Atalanta, and Valencia, a team from Spain.

  • That day tens of thousands of fans travelled on buses

  • and trains to the match where they hugged and celebrated.

  • One doctor called it a “biological bomb”.

  • And in the early days a lot of people

  • just didn't take it seriously.

  • This is Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz

  • goofing around with reporters' microphones

  • a few days later he tested positive.

  • And not long after that the NBA shut down.

  • So there were plenty of reasons for suspending play.

  • Nobody wanted to risk spreading the virus to players

  • spectators and, well, everyone else.

  • So that meant hitting pause.

  • But if you're an athleteit's not that simple.

  • Athletes only get a limited number of years

  • at the top of their game.

  • Tiger Woods needs four more Majors

  • to break the record for most titles.

  • Serena Williams is 38 but she's still two shy of breaking

  • Margaret Court's record for the singles title.

  • Now think about the Olympics for a second.

  • Athletes train for four years

  • so they peak in time for the games.

  • That's 15,000 of them.

  • But the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

  • have been postponed for at least a year.

  • Athletes have had to get creative.

  • There are lots of unknowns.

  • Will the Olympics even go ahead?

  • And who's going to cover the losses?

  • The International Olympic Committee has offered

  • to chip in with $800 million.

  • But some estimates suggest it could cost Japan

  • as much as $6 billion.

  • Olympians lose out too.

  • They lose out on the biggest stage they'll ever be on

  • Basically sitting on the bench costs money.

  • A lot of it.

  • It's why the major sports are risking a comeback.

  • Contracts with broadcasters are the biggest source

  • of revenue for almost all major sports.

  • The English Premier League have agreed to

  • a three-year contract with broadcasters

  • worth $12 billion.

  • The NBA has a TV deal worth $24 billion over nine years.

  • And each NFL regular season game is worth nearly

  • $24 million in revenue from TV rights alone.

  • Money's been short all around.

  • A lot of players have taken pay cuts.

  • But as teams plan their comebacks

  • the virus hasn't gone away.

  • And there's still no vaccine.

  • In the US they're trying something new.

  • Men's basketball, the NBA, and soccer, the MLS

  • are going to be holed up at Disney World in Florida.

  • Teams will live, train and compete in a sealed off

  • virus-free bubble.

  • It's a lot of disruption.

  • Still, it comes down to choice.

  • And that goes for any future vaccine too.

  • But as countries have started lifting their lockdowns

  • sports have said it's game on.

  • It was easy enough for rugby to resume in New Zealand

  • with full contact and full stadiums.

  • They declared themselves virus-free in June.

  • But other sports have returned without their fans.

  • Like Korea's K League.

  • Or pro baseball in Taiwan

  • where teams played in front of cardboard cutouts

  • and robotic drummers.

  • The Bundesliga is back too.

  • But the empty stands are as weird for the players

  • as they are for the fans.

  • A recent study suggests more than half of sports fans say

  • they won't feel comfortable in large crowds for a while.

  • The big sports are expected to find ways to survive.

  • But it's the smaller sporting communities

  • the amateur and youth leagues

  • that might struggle.

  • And what about women's sports?

  • With money drying up

  • there's not much to go around.

  • There may be some positive outcomes from all this.

  • To cut costs and the risk of global travel

  • some tournaments might rethink their schedules.

  • And that would be a good thing for the planet.

  • There might even be conversations about whether

  • they're paying superstar athletes too much money.

  • Sports are expected to get back to normal eventually.

  • And plenty of fans will tell you they really need it.

  • Real world concerns about the virus though

  • mean the comeback could be seen as risky business.

  • For the athletes and their fans.

  • But at the end of the day sports is a business.

  • And if anything, the pandemic has exposed

  • just how big of a business it really is.

  • If there's a story or a topic in the news

  • that you find confusing and you want us to explain

  • get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Also make sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel

  • so you don't miss our next episode.

Let's talk about the biggest comeback in sports history.

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Why are sports risking a comeback now? | Start Here

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    joey joey posted on 2021/09/27
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