COVID-19

There are no games, sports fans. What are you gonna do?

Andy Uhler Mar 27, 2020
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People sit on a hill overlooking Dodger Stadium on what was supposed to be MLB's opening day — now postponed due to the coronavirus — on March 26 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images
COVID-19

There are no games, sports fans. What are you gonna do?

Andy Uhler Mar 27, 2020
People sit on a hill overlooking Dodger Stadium on what was supposed to be MLB's opening day — now postponed due to the coronavirus — on March 26 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images
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Saddle up for another weekend without sports. They’ve been cancelled in the age of social distancing. No Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. No pro basketball and hockey teams jockeying for playoff positions.

And no golfers competing in the WGC Dell Match Play tournament in Austin, Texas — and so no fans buying souvenir golf shirts and expensive beers.

“It’s usually perfect weather, which it is right now. We’ve got the bluebonnets starting to bloom and it’s a perfect time to be walking around a golf course,” said Chad Smith from his home in the Westlake Hills neighborhood of Austin. He had been to every Dell Match Play since 2016. He’ll watch last year’s tournament on the Golf Channel, instead. 

It’s a common thread among sports fans. A lot of old games on their go-to channels. Dennis McWilliams has been watching a lot of Longhorn Network. That’s an ESPN channel that shows University of Texas sports. 

“I applaud ESPN and Fox Sports for what they’re trying to show us but it’s not our normal fare,” he said. “So we’ve got the Longhorn Network here, which is a lifesaver right now for us in the McWilliams house,” he said.

It just so happens that McWilliams can watch himself on the Longhorn Network sometimes. He played linebacker for the UT football team in the 1990s.

He and his two sons would be watching a lot of college basketball right now, during March Madness. Instead they’re playing a lot of sports video games, like Madden football.

That’s how Lee Tran, an English major at Earlham College, is getting his sports fix, too.

“I’ve just been using this app called Basketball GM. It’s kind of a simulator of an NBA franchise,” he said.

With Basketball GM users sign and trade players. There’s a salary cap and a budget to build your arena and locker rooms. Your franchises success is determined by all these factors.

“It’s not perfect but it’s something to do,” Tran said.

Something to do. That’s what Eileen Garvey of Dallas is after. Normally, she’d be watching Dallas Mavericks basketball games or Texas Rangers baseball games with her family. Not these days.

“We have been punching in movies and basically TV at night when the sports were on,” she said.

She’s been using her time sheltering in place to tutor her granddaughter and niece on FaceTime. But, honestly, she’s just worried about missing Cowboys games.

“I just pray that (the coronavirus) is gonna be all out of here before football season starts,” Garvey said.

If this were a normal year, the first NFL game would be played on September 10. But the football season, like everything else, is up in the air.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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