The unannounced arrival of the Covid-19 virus caught everyone off-guard. No one was spared from the devastation and the impact of the virus and its continuation havoc. The world also witnessed the second and most dangerous wave of the virus, when it emerged towards the end of 2020.
All sectors, industries and sports have experienced alterations to how it functions and operates while navigating the current wave of storms and uncertainties.
Spectator sports were probably the hardest hit with the absence of fans to cheer on their favourite teams or sports persons. We witnessed empty stadia with no participation or cheering on by fans. It is still to be proven, what impact these empty stadia had on the performance, endurance, motivation and state of mind of the players/athletes. Normally when attending a sporting event, you are able to experience the energy, the vibe, the adrenaline, excitement and exhilaration as displayed by the spectators. It has not been the case the past nine months as a result of the pandemic.
So what will 2021 hold for all sports? Will there be a difference with regards to the various sporting codes and the role and involvement of spectators.
The second wave of the pandemic has spread across the globe aggressively; this can be a clear indication that it will be similar circumstances and protocols being applied as what transpired in most of 2020. During this second wave, most sporting codes, the athletes, sponsors and the fans will at least have a reference of what to expect, and applied to their advantage. Lessons learned in 2020 will be useful in preparation for the challenges, which lies ahead. In short, there will be similarities between the two years, but with the emergence of the vaccine, it might be a different ball game altogether.
The above image illustrates some of the creative executions to bring some form of activity, bodies and movement in the stands at stadia to help boost the player’s game. This format will be further developed and enhanced to benefit all the stakeholders in various sporting codes under the new normal since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Will the effect, outcomes and results of the vaccine have a role to play with regards to how sports will be played, viewed and engaged with? Ultimately, it will become a waiting game.