As painful as it has been for sports fans to go months (seems more like an eternity) without any action, it appears that the storm is finally starting to blow over. The impact felt from the coronavirus pandemic won’t be going away anytime soon, just like with any massive storm, but the sooner athletes can get back into the game, the sooner the rebuilding can begin.
Across the globe, sports leagues like the NBA and others are counting down the days toward a relaunch of their activity, and for a few sports leagues, that countdown has already reached zero as sports starts comeback.
Germans Say ‘Willkommen’ To Return Of Bundesliga
The top two tiers in German soccer – 1. Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga – are ready to get back onto the field. Other leagues across Europe are busy trying to settle disputes with players over pay during the forced hiatus, but Germany’s leading soccer organizations have no problem putting the past behind them and moving on. The light at the end of the tunnel just got extremely bright.
Bundesliga players are preparing to start warming up. They’re getting back onto the practice fields this week, anxious to work out the kinks and start providing a show for sports-starved fans. With just around two weeks remaining in April, the players are hopeful they’ll be ready for the next step, which will see all 36 stadiums hosting regular-season games by the beginning of May.
The remainder of the season would be wrapped up by the end of June, filling a huge void in soccer fans’ rituals. All games would most likely be played in front of empty stands, leaving fans able to catch them only on TV, but it’s still a huge step in the right direction. Additionally, the two Bundesliga leagues will most likely be the only two seeing any action, as others in Europe will not yet have recovered. The Premier League in the UK, as of the most recent update, might not be ready to go until July – if not later.
The CEO of the Bundesliga, Christian Seifert, understands the importance of soccer to the German culture. He wants the games to pick back up as soon as possible, as long as everyone adheres to established health policies.
“We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again,” Seifert said. “This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.”
Baseball In Taiwan Has Robots Chanting, Banging Drums
Germany isn’t the only country ready to break out and get its favorite sports back in action. Taiwan is now playing baseball again after the Chinese Professional Baseball League restarted its season yesterday.
A statement by the league announcing the return of baseball reads, “We are the first pro-baseball league to start playing in the world [during the coronavirus pandemic]. We welcome everyone to follow the new 2020 season and to relax from their tense lives because of the outbreak.”
The league had been forced to take a break about a month ago and, like the Bundesliga, is hosting games in fields absent of fans, but it came up with a great alternative. While there are no “live” fans in the stands, the country’s Taoyuan Baseball Stadium was replete with “virtual” fans for yesterday’s game. Filling the seats (hopefully at discount admission prices with free beer) were mannequins, cardboard cutouts and even robots trained to play the drums.
All of the solutions were designed to present a near-real experience for players to allow them to feel like they were playing in front of huge crowds.
Since the sports world started to fall apart in March, it seems like an eternity has passed. It was right around a month ago that the Utah Jazz of the NBA, in a way, forced the league to cancel its season, creating a chain reaction that reached virtually all sports leagues across the globe. However, sports fans have made it a month and only need to hang in there a little while longer for things to begin their return to normalcy.