Surely, we are past the point now where we need to throw in a caveat in every sports story, explaining: “I know this doesn’t matter when people are dying, but…” And at our place, at least, we have emerged from a 14-day period of my self-isolation with an understanding that once this pandemic is over, things will be very much changed — and that it us up to us to make that change wholly positive, and maybe actually come out on the other end better than when we went in.
It has been an interesting two weeks for those of us in the sports media industry, with a lot of looking back interspersed with the odd snippet of breaking news. When there is no present — and the future is on hold — the past is all that’s left to us.
Yet there were a few green shoots; a few signs that the shock of the sudden stoppage of all our games had given way to planning for a resumption. Mark Cuban spit-balls May as a point of resumption for the NBA. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney reported Sunday that the Premier League is serious about basing club teams in isolated training facilities in the Midlands and London — as is often done in the World Cup or at Euros — and playing its remaining 92 matches during the summer months. The Bundesliga seems bent on the same idea.
Of course, nobody can give us a date when normalcy returns or even what it looks like, but what does seem clear is that return will most likely be behind closed doors — certainly, that any early return (however we might define early) will be done in that manner in order to honour the remnants of broadcasting and sponsorship deals.