During this hard time with the presence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting many people, the cancellation of sporting events has impacted the sports world in a big way.
There have been cancellations (postponements) of major sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB’s regular seasons and has also impacted the NFL.
Professional football has been affected, even though the NFL is technically not in season right now. One of its biggest events did had to be changed, however.
The NFL had a record breaking audience for last year’s rookie draft with more than 600,000 people gathering in Nashville. Originally, this year’s draft was to be held in Las Vegas and had the possibility of breaking last year’s mark.
As the number of COVID-19 cases rose within the country and with social distancing being advised, the NFL was put in a difficult and different situation.
The NFL indeed had their rookie draft, but it was done virutally. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from his home, teams were not allowed to attend the draft in person, but only could attend virtually by watching on television or participating via Skype video calls.
I believe the NFL took this pandemic serious and found a way to have a draft, which was great for the “Shield” and the sports world.
Sports fans have been in a sense of absence with the cancellation of sports. They are not focused on watching replays of older events, but rather want new games to discuss.
Social media is helping with the boredom as it has been a great way to keep up with teams and athletes. Having a live event like the NFL Draft allowed the sports world to come together for a few days and encouraged each other to communicate and talk about what is happening.
This year’s draft was exciting, with a class of talented quarterbacks like Joe Burrow of LSU, Jordan Love of Utah State, Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, and other signal callers and skilled positions.
Even though events have been canceled, the sports world still has some excitement with athletes participating in other areas in the entertainment world.
Some players have become bigger video game players and have even live-streamed themselves playing. An example of this is Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker live-streaming his games as he was playing at his home. The NBA hosted an NBA2K tournament for its’ players and Booker ended up winning it all.
Athletes have been putting videos on TikTok, a newer social media platform that is becoming more popular and is keeping fans engaged. Los Angeles Lakers forward Lebron James, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson are each making TikTok videos to share with fans.
Another great platform is YouTube. Pat McAfee is a former punter for the Indianapolis Colts has an excellent show titled, The Pat McAfee Show (PMS). The PMS is a great way to keep up with sports, mostly football, but in a style with humor and sarcasm that McAfee and his crew bring to the table.
His show is the best sports talk/podcast out there and I highly recommend it to the major sports fan.
I’ll close this piece by stating that the sports world needs live events to keep generating good content for fans to connect with. Even though the draft was done virtually, it was the best way to bring this content that we need to keep the fans happy until we can sit in the stands once again.
Owen Reeher is a senior at Shawnee State University majoring in Sport Management and runs track and cross country.