With countries across the globe confined indoors because of the coronavirus lockdown, sports too has come to a standstill. Dealing with the long-term impact of COVID-19 amid various sports events involving several athletes is a challenge for sports authorities post-pandemic.
Every sports discipline is bound to be different for the other. Right from golf to shooting, badminton to tennis, contact sports like kabaddi to wrestling and team games like football and cricket, everything will be different henceforth.
BUSINESS OF SPORTS POST-PANDEMIC
Today, a sports event is not just action for fans, but a big booming business. In basic terms, there are three income streams for sports leagues/events in India; first is broadcasting which includes sales of media rights, second is commercial rights which includes sponsorship and advertising partnerships. The third and most vital income stream is the matchday revenue that incudes ticketing and hospitality.
Anything longer than the already stretched national lockdown (May 31) would see many sports events unable to meet their broadcasting commitments. This will directly hit the income earned by the teams. This will also impact the players directly as no matches mean no TV deals and no matchday fees income.
THINGS TO CHANGE IN VARIOUS SPORTS
As far as cricket is concerned, the biggest change one might see is the use of saliva to shine the ball, helpful for swing bowling. With latest developments among various cricket bodies and the International Cricket Council (ICC), days of applying saliva to swing the ball could be over in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Australian pacer Pat Cummins in an online interview with Cricket Australia said, “As a bowler, I think it would be pretty tough if we couldn’t shine the ball, especially in a Test match.”
In tennis as well you could soon see no towel touching. The images of tennis players throwing towels dripped with sweat and blood at ball boys/girls would not be possible post-pandemic. Baskets to deposit towels and face masks along with gloves would be a regular feature on the tennis court for a long time.
However, there are still some sports like shooting, where not many changes are expected.
Ace shooter and Olympic medalist Abhinav Bindra recently said, “There is no contact with other human beings in any of our (shooting) sport. There is a metre’s difference between shooters in ranges. Our sport is trained for social distancing.”