Friday roundup: Another Canadian sports bailout request, and everyone pretends to know when things may or may not reopen

Happy May, everybody! This crisis somehow both feels like it’s speeding into the future and making time crawl — as one friend remarked yesterday, it’s like we’ve all entered an alternate universe where nothing ever happens — and we have to hold on to the smallest glimmers of possible news and the tiniest drips of rewards to keep us going and remind us that today is not actually the same as yesterday. In particular, today is fee-free day on Bandcamp, when 100% of purchase prices goes to artists, and lots of musicians have released new albums and singles and video downloads for the occasion. Between that and historic baseball games on YouTube with no scores listed so you can be surprised at how they turn out, maybe we’ll get through the weekend, at least.

And speaking of week’s end, that’s where we are, and there’s plenty of dribs and drabs of news-like items from the week that just passed, so let’s catch up on what the sports world has been doing while not playing sports:

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7 comments on “Friday roundup: Another Canadian sports bailout request, and everyone pretends to know when things may or may not reopen

  1. Regarding the erasing of $12B from the economy, while substitution would normally be at play, at the moment that seems muted. You mentioned the issue of consumers not having money to spend, which is true. However, even if you have money and can’t go to the baseball game, you might normally substitute going to a concert, a play, out for dinner, a bar with friends or take a short trip. None of those are currently available. As a result you might just put the money in the bank and watch the Netflix subscription you already paid for instead and in fact the US savings rate last month hit its highest level since 1981.

    That said, sports is just one item in the ledger of “things Americans once spent money on but can’t right now” and far from the biggest one. Nonetheless when they write that that spending and the jobs associated with it are gone they are probably right.

  2. While France, Belgium and the Netherlands have all officially cancelled their soccer seasons, Germany is the farthest along in getting to a restart (but Italy, Portugal and other countries are getting back to practice now or soon). After delays in getting political approval they are expected to get approval this week (maybe!). They also reported 10 positive cases during their initial round of COVID 19 testing (2nd round is starting today). Some are using the testing to prove it is football and COVID 19 are not a problem (only 0.5% of tests!) while others are noting this shows how bad the protocol is (the 10 positive tests all resulted in individual and not team/group quarantine). One of the positive tests has been leaked to be a team trainer and that was leaked by an unhappy player who had contact with the trainer. This unhappy player also revealed that they were not maintaining social distancing for small groups and he is really unhappy about paired in training with someone was in now a confirmed COVID case.

    The 3.BL continues to be a mess. Even though there have been two league votes to restart, those that do not want to restart are using every means available to them to prevent restarting. Any restart will be after May 25th as they organized a wider vote of all teams at all levels to decide the matter.

    1. Quarantining is the part I have no idea how leagues are going to figure out. The whole idea of testing/contact tracing is to shut down any new infections quickly by isolating everyone who may have been infected — but what happens when that group includes all or most of the players on a pro sports team? (Or all or most members of a restaurant kitchen staff, I suppose, but it’s easier for a restaurant to shut down for two weeks than a soccer team.)

      There seems to be a whole lot of checking-perfunctory-boxes type planning going on right now in sports. Case in point:

      1. The strain of trying desperately to complete these seasons for the sake of finances is bound to keep clashing with brutal reality. I suspect that the leagues and teams don’t actually know how to make this work but they won’t acknowledge defeat until it’s very close at hand.

        1. That’s undoubtedly true, Michael. However, given the amounts of money involved, I am sure they will literally try everything to play “enough” games that they can cash most or all of the tv money checks… no matter how ludicrous (or dangerous) the end product is.

    2. Switzerland is officially cancelled. In an interesting twist teams are going to be allowed to practice earlier than usual for next season.

      It is not officially announced yet but a number of places have reported that Merkel and federal government will allow the Bundesliga and 2.BL to restart. They will announce tomorrow.

      Another story going around is about a Hertha player being photographed shaking teammates hands during practice which still is supposed to have social distancing. While some will argue this shows social distancing is impossible in soccer (of course it is) I think it highlights the difficulty of keeping fans away from stadiums (people have gathering outside of closed practices already taking photos). The Bundesliga plans to have 40 security personnel on the outside of stadiums. I am not sure that will work.

  3. I would be shocked if the German government went along with this, even as a sign of “normal” or a distraction. Every indication is that the government is serious about only allowing things to unroll slowly, and at two opportunities has declined to support. Schools here aren’t even open.

    I’d say the leagues are pushing this as a “we tried” knowing it will be rejected…easier to keep the TV money, I suppose.

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