All Sports Leagues Should Suspend Their Seasons
The Novel Coronavirus - COVID-19 - is unlike anything we have ever seen before. It has caused pain and suffering around the world, and is quickly becoming both a medical and economic catastrophe. It has caused countries to take a variety of precautionary measures, from quarantining citizens to restricting travel, to limit the spread of the disease. These measures have, of course, impacted the sports world. From playing in front of empty arenas to postponing games, COVID-19 is creating an unprecedented situation in sports. This is why it would be best for all involved for sports leagues in countries impacted by the virus to be suspended until the virus is properly dealt with. This includes soccer in Italy and Spain (the Italian government has already suspended all sports until April 3), the NBA, and the NHL.
Some may say that this measure is too drastic. The most common solution we have seen so far has been to play games without spectators in attendance. However, this option is not pleasant to watch or experience. It is a constant reminder of the suffering that is occurring outside the walls of the stadium where the event is taking place. It is eerily quiet, and always feels as though something is missing. This is why the most famous basketball player in the world, LeBron James, has already said that if fans are not in attendance, he will not play. It is also important that fans know they will not be missing a game they may have already paid to see, or not know whether they will be allowed into the stadium until the day of the game. This can, and has created confusion among fans worldwide, and will create future resentment toward teams.
This will also be beneficial for television companies, despite having paid millions for the rights to televise games. A game without fans is an inferior product because the atmosphere of a big game is missing. It is a product fans will be less satisfied watching. Cancelling games also gives stations time to find alternate programming, as opposed to being forced to postpone or cancel games soon before the scheduled start time.
Sports exist for fans and supporters to escape from the wider world. They are a safe place for fans to express emotions and compete with each other. As a result, when fans are unable to attend sports events, those events should not take place. Leagues should wait until this threat to public health is adequately dealt with, so fans can enjoy watching their teams as much as possible.
Update: The NBA has chosen to suspend its season after Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus