Month: May 2020

COVID 19 By the Numbers

          By: Austin Maki      

Scott Stinson: In this time without sports due to COVID-19, there ...

Empty Scotiabank Arena, what will be the new norm during the Pandemic

The novel Corona virus, or as it is popularly known as COVID 19, has caused an upheaval in society not seen since the world wars. The short-term effects are being felt presently, the long-term ramifications though will be felt for years to come. We here at Sports Aces website are a sports-based website and we of course we mainly want to focus on the sports side of this. There is however a very real human impact as well.  Let us look at some numbers to try to put in perspective how devastating COVID 19 has been for not only sports, but the entire world.

4.71 Million: Worldwide cases of COVID, including 77,309 confirmed cases in Canada.

15 percent: The amount of the schedule that remained in the NHL regular season before the season was cancelled due to the pandemic. How that gets made up is yet to be determined. The NBA on the other hand had 21 percent of the regular season remaining.

$610,000: The amount of money Major League Baseball is losing from every missed home game this season according to the numbers released by the owners. The MLB season was supposed to start on March 26th and is still yet to get under way.

10,000: That is the number of COVID-19 tests per week Major League Baseball would is hoping to administer and process to return to play. This includes overhauling stadiums and in-game settings to encourage social distancing and play during the pandemic. With testing in the United States limited already, this seems ambitious.

40-5: 40 and 5 represent the amount of rounds that the MLB draft used to be and what it will be, for this season at least because of COVID. What this does to the farm systems of teams and development of baseball players in general.

6.3 million: The viewers for the first episode for the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” in the United States. The single highest ratting for any television event since the Pandemic started. This number shows how desperate people were to consume anything sports related or new.

25-30 million: The amount of money the salary cap could go down in the National Basketball Association is current economic trends continue due to Corona. The ramifications this would have on team building are almost impossible to comprehend. What would this mean for free agents, or players who recently signed an extension is equally unknown.

1945: The last time Wimbledon was cancelled due to World War 2. It was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

$869 million: The amount of money the NCAA lost by cancelling the 2020 NCAA tournament. This event makes up almost 3 quarters of the organization’s income. We can take issue with the NCAA’s amateur model, but without question, the loss of so much income will have ripple effects extending to many other college sports.

30 million: Americans have filed unemployment claims since midMarch, the highest number since the great depression of 1918. While not specifically a sports related stat, these are the people that consume sport for entertainment. If they have no disposable income because they do not have a job, where does sport fit into that.  As of the beginning of May, 15 percent of the American work force did not have a job. While Canada has avoided such disastrous numbers thus far, experts predict it might not to be far away. Sports will directly feel this.

$5 million: The amount money raised for COVID related relief projects on May 17th by Rory McIlory, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Mathew Wolf in a televised skin game.

14 Days: The amount of time any international citizen would have to Self Isolate if entering Canada. After the 14-day period they would be able to rejoin team activities.  

150 million: The amount of money the CFL has asked from the Canadian Federal government to cover operating costs across the next two seasons. The CFL revealed teams were bleeding money at a staggering rate, collectively losing anywhere from $10 to $20 million last season. A major part of there income come from gate revenue, which even with a season, would not exist. The existence of the league itself may be in jeopardy.

Mid-2021: The date Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become available. A vaccine would normally take years, if not decades, to develop. Researchers hope to achieve the same amount of work in only a few months. That would be a huge scientific feat and there are no guarantees it will work.

MOCK TWEET: The numbers behind the COVID 19 pandemic paints a dark picture. In this article we look at some of those numbers and what the mean going forward.

Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sports teams and facilities brace for COVID-19 outbreak by sterilizing facilities.

By: Victoria Femia

For the past two month the world came to a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Businesses shutdown, people are isolated in their homes, and one of the biggest things to happen, happened.  

Every sport shutdown completely. 

After a couple months of putting plans and protocols into place it seems like pro sports are finally looking to make a comeback. Fans everywhere are excited and hopeful for the return of seeing their favourite sport but there could be downfalls to sports seasons resuming. 

It’s important to look at how this all began for different leagues, what’s next and how this will affect the athletes as well as the franchises.

NBA

The NBA was the first major league to make a decision to suspend the league indefinitely. The decision came after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. 

The news of a player testing positive for the virus came minutes before tip-off between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz. The league postponed the game and shortly after they postponed the season. 

From then 13 other NBA players have tested positive for the virus including Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell. Fast Forward two months later, the league is 2-4 weeks away from making a decision on whether to resume the season or not. But resuming the season begs the question of, is it safe to play? 

A group of superstars in the league, including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony David and others, had a private conference call and the consensus was that all players are in favor of returning to play. 

One main thing Commissioner Adam Silver is looking to do is to find a “hub city” to host all the NBA games to limit player travel. 

The only thing that is for sure is that if/when the season resumes there will be no fans in the audience.

NHL

Following the suspension of the NBA season, the NHL quickly followed and suspended their season with 189 regular season games remaining.  A total of 4 unnamed players have tested positive in the league, two from the Ottawa Senators and two from the Colorado Avalanche. 

Unlike the AHL, who cancelled their season and the Calder Cup, the NHL seems to be taking a different route with their season. It looks like the league will be resuming as per NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he came out saying that cancelling the season “is not something I’m even contemplating.”

“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said. 

Much like the NBA, the NHL is looking for a hub city for the season to resume. It is also very likely that they would skip the regular season jumping straight into playoffs with a 24-team playoff structure. 

An infectious disease specialist believes hockey may have to take extra precautions to be played safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The doctor relayed a list of suggestions to TSN, including full face shields, no fighting, and no spitting.

MLB

The MLB didn’t even get a chance to finish their spring training before the Coronavirus shut them down. 

The league is now making plans to resume the season, but many complications will follow. In order to resume the season there cannot be any fans in the stadium for safety purposes which is a main factor in the players pay cuts.

The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke publicly about the health and safety plans that the league is creating to submit to the players’ union. Manfred also says that if they don’t play this season the losses for the owners could approach $4 billion. 

Some MLB players would rather the season be cancelled because of all the complications that come with resuming the season. 

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays was one player who voiced his opinion about the matter. He took to his personal Twitch account to say playing this season is not worth it with all the pay cuts and not being able to see his family. 

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies backed up Snell’s comments saying, “Someone has to say it.”

Tweet: “Find out how major leagues are keeping up with the COVID-19 pandemic by reading ‘Sports and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by Victoria Femia.”

Sports Never Stop: How the Sporting World has Prevailed Over the COVID-19 Pandemic

Joe Burrow of LSU listening in to the NFL draft from home. The First overall pick’s selection isn’t the only event keeping sports fans entertained in quarantine, as the sporting world finds numerous ways to provide content, even amidst a global pandemic.

By: Riley Gillespie-Wilson

 COVID-19 has swept the nation. The pandemic surrounding the illness has robbed a lot of people of a lot of things. For sports fans, the main compromise has been being able to enjoy game action at the end of the day. The NBA was the first to pull the plug, and the NHL and various other leagues were quick to follow. 

These same fans were thieved of some major events as well, March Madness, the grand finale of NCAA Men’s Basketball being a prime example. Now, they very well may be forced to go without the wrap-up of the NHL and NBA also, as playoffs would normally be taking place in April, and we’re well into May. 

Most recently, the MLB delayed the start of its season indefinitely, leaving sports fans to feel that the sporting season is lost, save Bundesliga soccer and a few other sports continuing with no fans. Even if that’s the case, however, there are still a lot of events happening that can put a smile on a sports fan’s face. 

There are a lot of events happening that prove the versatility of sports, and the fact that there is always some form of content, even in a glorified offseason for every sport.

Virtual Reality 

With large gatherings off the table, the NFL had to get creative for their draft. Seemingly, the only possibility was to go live from each player’s respective home, and have commissioner Roger Goodell run the draft from a remote location. 

With fans so desperate for sports, and entertainment for that matter, reactions to the draft were rampant on social media. 

Social media wasn’t the only place the draft was generating a buzz. A lot of people tuned in, shattering the previous viewership record. The first round alone was up 37% over 2019’s viewership numbers, with over 15.6 million people tuning in. 

The numbers didn’t slow down from there, and the NFL’s virtual draft is proof that an entertaining product can still be put on by not only a sport during a global pandemic, but a sport in its offseason, for that matter. 

Free Agent Frenzy 

Just because there are no games going on, doesn’t mean there aren’t transactions, and these transactions have been key conversation starters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The NFL, being in its prime acquisition window, has led the charge, the biggest news coming out of what is now being dubbed “Tompa Bay.” That is, because possible NFL “G.O.A.T,” and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in late March, on a two-year, $50 million deal. 

Brady isn’t the only big name to sign in the Bay, as he was joined weeks later by former teammate Rob Gronkowski.

Aside from the big names, Andy Dalton is a notable inking for the Dallas Cowboys, and highlights the fact that sports never stop. Even in dire times, fans still have relocations to keep their sporting appetite satisfied. 

Playoffs?! 

Outside of the NFL, some leagues weren’t so lucky to be in the offseason when the outbreak began. As mentioned, two leagues specifically, the NHL and the NBA, were just gearing up for their respective playoffs, while the MLB was getting primed to kick off the season.

That begs the question, what next? It’s no news that not playing games is detrimental to the major sports leagues. Just how detrimental, though? The tune of $5 billion over two months, according to Forbes. The MLB will lose the most (around $2 billion), while the NHL, NBA and others will all lose around $1 billion apiece.

Several playoff formats have been discussed for the NBA and NHL, with Doc Rivers suggesting a format involving a play-in tournament for an NBA bracket the same size as years past.

The NHL, meanwhile, is reportedly discussing a 24-team, conference-based tournament for its playoffs. 

Even without games, the possibility of competition, and how it should look, is keeping fans on the edge of their seats. 

Making Do

While there are clearly better times ahead, as demonstrated, there are still outlets available for sports fans to get their fix. 

Be it a league going virtual to bring them a draft, signings getting done remotely, or conversation about if and how a league should return, sports simply never stop. Not even COVID-19 can stop sports. 

MOCK TWEET: Most sports may be off, but there’s no shutting down the sporting world.

COVID-19’s Impact on the NBA and Basketball World

How the NBA is staying relevant

The NBA has been shut down for 72 days and will lose hundreds of millions if the season doesn’t return.

By: Quinn MacDonald

Being a professional basketball player sure comes with its benefits; Fame, status and money to name a few. They’re viewed as celebrities and inspirational icons, who are extremely talented at what they do. 

But imagine being at the forefront, or even a potential cause for the COVID-19 outbreak. How do they deal with this pandemic on top of all the added pressure of being famous?

This article breaks down what some of the top tier NBA players and the league have been doing amidst this pandemic – how they’ve been helping others and how they’ve been staying relevant.

The Beginning of the End

It all started on Wednesday March 11th in Oklahoma City. Team doctors were seen rushing onto the court to inform officials that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Days prior Gobert jokingly touched all the reporters microphones following a press conference. Gobert’s ignorance isn’t so funny now. 

Gobert’s teammate, Donavon Mitchell, tested positive for COVID-19 and was reportedly furious with Gobert’s actions – rightfully so!

NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, immediately took action the next day and suspended the NBA for a minimum of 30 days. Which was soon followed by all other major sporting leagues as the virus became more severe. 

The Worst has yet to Come

Over the next few days several players and staff for several organizations tested positive for COVID-19. All of which had played the Utah Jazz (or teams that played against Utah) within the last two weeks. 

Brooklyn Nets star, Kevin Durant was the most notable NBA player to test positive along with three of his teammates. Durant was spotted with Toronto artist Drake just a few days prior which had the whole music industry holding their breath. 

The NBA shut down soon after, restricting players from leaving the country and implemented self-isolation protocol. At which point the NBA decided to stop releasing information about players’ health for their own privacy. 

Making the Best of it

Since then the NBA has struggled to make headlines and entertain their fans. Initially TSN and Sportsnet re-ran the Raptors Championship run which was exciting, but pales in comparison to the real thing. 

Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance” documentary was a huge success, drawing in over 23 million international viewers in the first four weeks. It’s helped sports show tremendously, sparking the debate of who is the “Greatest of All-Time” (GOAT).

But the most interesting thing the NBA did to stay relevant and entertaining was the “Horse Competition” which was won by Mike Conley. It was a great way to give basketball fans some content they’ve been craving during this quarantine. WNBA and NBA players had the chance to show off their skills and personality which made for great entertainment. 

Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors kept on entertaining his fans via Instagram. Whether it’s taking part in internet challenges, or motivating others to stay in shape with workout videos, Ibaka surely made the most of this quarantine time.  

We are all in this Together

The entire world has been affected by COVID-19 and it doesn’t seem like things will be back to normal anytime soon, if ever.

There have been a ton of players giving back to the community during these trying times. NBA Stars such as Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Zion Willamson, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and many team owners have donated money to help cover lost wages for arena staff.

Former President, Barack Obama, took to twitter to commend those players who are helping out.  There is no amount of money that could put this pandemic to ease, but it’s certainly nice to see those athletes giving back to those who’ve helped them all along.

Magic in the Air 

The latest news regarding the NBA is that they green-lighted the idea of resuming play in a central host location. And it just so happens to be in the “happiest place” in the world, Walt Disney World Resort. 

The infrastructure is perfect to host major sports with a 220-acre athletic complex that features numerous courts to host several games at the same time, hotels to lodge either 30 or 16 teams depending on if the NBA resumes the regular season or jumps straight into the playoffs.

Player health and safety is the top priority and will be closely monitored leading up to a potential return. Things are looking hopefully as the world works its way back to normalcy… whatever the new normal might be.

Mock Tweet: “Go check out my latest article on COVID-19’s impact on the NBA. Breaking down the whole basketball world and how the industry has stayed relevant. All that and more only on sportsaces.net” @Quinn_MacD