The prospect that Major League Baseball could be on the cusp of returning to our screens as America continues to gear up for the easing of lockdown restrictions is exciting for many – amongst the talks that have been held to try and find an alternative such as moving games to Japan or splitting the leagues with Grapefruit and Cactus leagues has only muddied the water and made things a little more complicated – with the frequency at which it has been asked how baseball will return, it has been ignored whether or not it’s too soon for it to return.
There’s a big push from businesses that operate around these sports to help push as well as some fan pressure too – betting companies are relying on alternative means to stay afloat as slots not on gamstop make up a bigger part of their business now – broadcasting has already been announced for these events but for the foreseeable future fans will not be able to attend and as such fan pressure is also being placed on these sporting organisers to get games going perhaps before their time.
There has already been some level of warning as experts suggest in other sports such as football that a return too early could spell disaster and would require further delays as players face increasing risk whilst out on the field, even with increased testing – eyes might now turn towards Europe and the lockdown measures begin to ease and soccer teams have been given the go ahead to start team training once again with expected dates for a full return to competition in June – but these dates still remain tentative as any change in numbers could spell for cancellation again.
The big concern for many organisers will be in the potential losses that cancelling a full season will bring – the Premier League in the UK already announced that further delays or cancellations could see losses top $1 billion – and that’s just an estimated figure through one league. If multiple leagues across multiple sports were to collate their potential losses the figures would be enormous, and that would only be expanded on if similar figures could be found through the supporting business such as the service and hospitality industry too.
That brings a return to the question of whether or not it is too soon for baseball to return – it would be a great fan service and a solid economic boost for it to return as fast as possible, but with the risks as great as they are trying to hurry things along when they perhaps aren’t ready has a large potential to make things worse – for the many sports on the cusp it may be beneficial to err on the side of caution and see what happens elsewhere, to measure the response in other countries and across other sports to ensure that not only the teams and players are kept safe, but to also protect the sport from potential further issues.