Is it safe to stuff the stadiums?

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Photo Courtesy of pixabay.cpm

As time has passed sports teams and venues are beginning to open and increase capacity.

As the world has reached a little over a year since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be changes happening in the world of sports once again.

When the pandemic first hit, many leagues and organizations took action to ensure the safety of players, coaches, staff and fans. Strict safety protocols were implemented for players to limit the spread.

An article from nba.com said, “All games and activities of the restart were staged in a “bubble” at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World resort outside Orlando. The ambitious and costly (approximately $180 million) project saved the league an estimated $1.5 billion in additional revenue losses, while enabling the Los Angeles Lakers to be crowned as 2020 champions on Oct. 11.”

Along with players practicing guidelines and protocols, fans were also encouraged to do so. Many stadiums and venues limited the number of attendees or prohibited fans from attending games.

According to an article from nfl.com, “The Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams and SoFi Stadium announced both Rams and Chargers home games will be held without fans in attendance until further notice.”

While national sports leagues were impacted by COVID-19, there were also changes in local sports. Here at West Texas A&M University, protocols were put into place for players, fans and sports media students working on game coverage.

“You got scanned, and then you had to do an online form that pretty much stated, ‘You don’t have COVID’, you know, so before you could actually get into the stadium, those two things happen,” said Dr. Michael McFarland, Assistant Professor of Media Communication.

While game coverage was, and is still allowed, there are guidelines that those covering games must follow.

“You were limited, you couldn’t really go past the 20 yard line. So 20 yards that way, 20 yards that way, everything else was off limits, you couldn’t walk behind the, the players or the coaches. So they wanted to keep people away from them,” McFarland said.

As time has passed, several sports venues and teams are expecting to open up and allow fans to watch their favorite team.

In an article released by the San Antonio Spurs, the organizations said, “Starting Friday, March 12 the AT&T Center will once again be home to the best fans in the NBA when the San Antonio Spurs host the Orlando Magic.”

Collegiate sports programs are also looking to expand fan attendance by the 2021 season.

A tweet from the University of Alabama’s athletic director Greg Bryne said, “We are moving forward with plans to have a full stadium in the fall and will monitor medical guidelines as we have all along.”

As vaccines continue to be distributed around the country, many players and fans alike hope to continue playing and enjoying their favorite sports.

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