PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 26
By Leo Haggerty

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Ok, we’ve now heard that the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association wants to attempt to resume their seasons.  Also, Major League Baseball is pushing to begin an abbreviated schedule.  All have very ambitious plans to say the least.

So, with that being said, what’s the next steps. There are a few and I will cover those over the rest of the week but I want to, initially, examine it from the prospective of the fans that show up to the venues.

Here are the major obstacles, as I see them, that MLB and the NBA along with the NHL needs to overcome as it applies to fan participation.  Trust me, these are not easy fixes as you will see when you read below.

First, will fans be allowed into the venue?  This is a monumental problem and here’s why.  Do you open the sites for full capacity?  If attendance is limited, what criteria will be used to determine which individuals will be allowed to attend and how will seating be configured?  How will people be notified that they can or cannot attend that particular sporting event?

Second, and this is a huge one because it deals with revenue, if the team plays “designated home games” at a different site than their normal hometown venue, will fans that have already purchased tickets be given a refund?  If so, will there be a monetary giveback or will the amount of money be rolled over to the 2021 season?  Can a team roll the funds over to the next season or are they forced to reimburse ticket holders the full cost of that ducat?

Finally, and I would not want to be responsible for overseeing this aspect, if fans of a specific team show up at the “designated home site” on game day, will their tickets be honored?  What seats do those tickets equate to in a completely foreign venue?  Will there be a partial refund if the seats are of lesser value than the purchased ticket price?

Check out the featured picture for my article.  Would you want to be the person who informs these two guys that they cannot attend the event because they didn’t register prior to game day?  That’s way above my pay grade, for sure.

Now, I’ve just scratched the surface of one problem area for professional sports leagues.  Check out the next couple of days as I tackle some other pertinent aspects that, hopefully, the leagues have already created contingency plans so they can be ready to react when any possible scenario becomes a reality.

if they haven’t, it could get real ugly real early.  That’s one thing none of the pro sports entities want to have happen because the fallout could, or should I say would, be catastrophic.