Beer and sports naturally go hand in hand. But what happens when there are no sports?
The last couple of days have been an avalanche of information, and weirdness. It started with Italy cancelling all sporting events, include their top soccer league Serie A. In the US, the Ivy League cancelled entirely it’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, while smaller conferences like the MAC and AAC played games in empty arenas with no fans. Power 5 conferences like the ACC, SEC and Pac 12 continued on as normal, but with a weather eye on the horizon. Yesterday, the two big bombshells hit. The NCAA announced that all tournament games for winter sports, including Men’s and Women’s Basketball would be played with no fans. Limited to essential personnel and selected family members only. A few hours later, the NBA took it a step further and suspended the season. No games will be played until further notice. This morning what followed was the expected chaos as dominos started falling. The Power 5 conferences cancelled what remained of their conference tournaments. The NHL and MLS announced the seasons would be suspended for at least 30 days, if not more. MLB is delaying the start of the season, and NWSL probably will as well. The XFL had announced they would play in empty stadiums but at this point may delay/cancel as well.
In the grand scheme of health and safety, sports really aren’t that important, but they can be a barometer for how things are going overall. Sporting events get cancelled when really serious shit happens. Whether it’s smoke from wild fires, flooding from hurricanes or the shock and confusion that followed 9/11. When large major public events start getting cancelled you know things are bad.
What will the ramifications of this be? I have no idea. But I’ll say this. The players and teams won’t be affected. For the most part, the fans won’t be affected. Sure, some people will be angry (some people always are) but you’ll either get to go to the games, or you’ll get your money back. Who this will hurt is the people who work at the stadiums. Let’s be real, that person pouring your $19 beer is making minimum wage, and that is likely their 2nd (or third) job considering pouring beer at a basketball game is a two night a week job. Those are the people that are going to get hit hardest. And secondarily will be the vendors who supply the stadiums with food and beer. People will also be less likely to go out to bars/restaurants, so food and beer sales there will drop as well.
Things are going to get weird, and they may not get back to normal for quite a while. Tourism has already been hit hard, food service will get hit hard too. Some places may actually go out of business. The big guys like Sysco distribution and AB-InBev will be just fine, but what about the small local places?
I don’t have any answers, hell, I don’t even have any good suggestions, except this. Be nice to your fellow humans. This is going to be hard on all of us. Beyond getting sick and possibly dying, some people will lose their jobs, possibly even their homes. We’re going to need everyone to support each other. Lift up your communities and stick together. Obviously, the advice is to isolate ourselves to prevent the spread of the virus, but don’t just peace out and forget everyone. When we emerge from our caves and blink into the sun again we’ll have to see what we have left and rebuild.
In the end, sports are mostly meaningless, but in this instance they can serve as the canary in the coal mine. Things are getting bad and we need to get ready. I’m not intending to scaremonger or anything like that, but get ready. Things will change. Public transit will be affected, your work schedule will be affected, schools and sports are already cancelled. Shit’s going to get weird. Take care of each other. We’re all we’ve got.