No Fan Attendance In Sports Tournaments
The whole world is concerned about the spread of corona virus and sports is not an exemption. If you have closely followed the sports ecosystem in recent years, if is very likely that you have noticed the decline in attendance. Soaring TV rights deals means that sports on TV is a better option for sports fans.
Last Wednesday, NCAA announced that the basketball tournament will push through but with limited staff and family attendance. The Golden State Warriors also announced that home games will proceed as scheduled but without fans at the Chase Centre.
The idea of playing to near-to-empty arenas as opposed to cancelling the events altogether does not seem ethical for the fans who want a traditional sports experience. Part of the excitement in an NCAA tournament is the enthusiasm of fans. It is difficult to imagine “March Madness” without the roaring crowd during every buzzer beater and painted faces in varying degrees.
The reality is few fans are attending the games because of the higher ticket prices and the lure of TV. More games are being televised because it is the way that overseers of sports manage their product. Sports directors benefit from the increases in TV rights but this has also allowed TV networks like ESPN to dictate when games are to be played.
TV has been prioritized over the in-person experience. However, playing solely for TV is extreme and expresses a trend that has been gradually building. Talk and late night TV programs can proceed without studio audience but not sports. According to CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, absence of fans could greatly alter the atmosphere of NCAA tournament. Dynamics would not hurt ratings because more people will be staying at home to watch sports on TV.
Eventually, everything will return to normal and crowds in sports tournament will return because they love the games.
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