Since late 2019, the Coronavirus strain Covid-19 has impacted the world on a dramatic scale. Over 100,000 people across the globe have been infected with the virus, with more than 3,000 dying from the virus.
As governments in nation’s with high infection rates are scrambling to try and stop the spread, many have banned large groups of people from gathering. Even in countries that don’t have high infection rates, events that would draw in large groups of people are being cancelled as a precaution.
There has been an instrumental impact on sports and entertainment events in the high impact countries of China, Italy, South Korea and Iran. On January 30, the Boston Symphony Orchestra cancelled the remaining dates of its Asia tour due to fear of the virus spreading. The Orchestra was scheduled to perform in South Korea, Taiwan, Shanghai and China.
On March 4, the Italian government issued a decree which declared all sporting events throughout the country must take place behind closed doors until April 3. This means that there will be no fans in the stands, even at the highly anticipated Serie A football matches. Italy is looking for any way to stop the spread of Covid-19, too, as they have become one of the countries with the highest infection rates with over 4,000 people contracting the virus.
BTS, one of the largest K-Pop groups in the world, has cancelled several of their concerts which were planned to take place in South Korea in April. The group stated that this was an unavoidable cancellation in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
There also have been cancellations of huge events within the United States. This past Friday, it was announced that Ultra Music Festival, which would have taken place March 20-22nd in Miami, was postponed to March of 2021, due to orders from the City of Miami. The City stated that the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and it should not cause for alarm. People are also speculating as to whether the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, set to occur April 10-12th and 17-19th, would be postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19.
The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament for Division I, also known as March Madness, which brings in over $700 million a year, is scheduled to begin on March 17. With Italy, Switzerland and Japan holding sporting evens without fans, there is pressure building for the NCAA to follow and go spectatorless for the tournament. As of now, there has not been any announcement from the NCAA preventing fans from going to the games. However, Johns Hopkins University has banned fans from attending the Division III men’s basketball tournament. On Friday, March 6, the first game was held in an empty Baltimore gym.
As countries around the world continue to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19, sports and entertainment events will continue to be cancelled or occur without fans. And who knows if the impact will reach the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which are scheduled to begin July 24th.