Posted in:

The Slow Road to the Return of Live Sports in this Era of Coronavirus

Given the stoppage of live sports during the coronavirus pandemic, viewers at home hungry for the fun, the thrill, and the potential to win some fast cash relied more heavily than ever before on online betting platforms. This year, the global online gambling market (which includes online sports betting, casino, bingo and lotteries, among other activities) is predicted to increase from $58.9 billion in 2019 and to $66.7 billion in 2020. Comparably, that is a growth rate of 13.2 percent, which is mainly attributed to COVID 19 and the lockdown as a result of it.

Looking ahead, global online gambling is expected to reach a massive $95 billion by 2024. And the global market is estimated to grow by 11.5% annually until 2027.

Naturally, sports of all kinds remain an ample attraction to individuals of all ages, including hockey betting. Interest in hockey was magnified when coverage of the return of the 2020 National Hockey League began on NBC Sports on Saturday, August 1 where an estimated 120 hours of coverage from the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers was visible on NBC, NBCSN and USA Network.

The National Hockey League had paused the regular season on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and its remaining 189 games were not be completed, as did all other live sports at this time. But there is a planned road to an eventual return of all live sports (which is dependent, of course, on whether or not the virus increases this fall with the cooler weather and the slow return to some form of normalcy).

Live Sports is on the Slow Rebound

As the world continues to deal with the deadly virus, here is the latest update per each individual major sport (which is not expected to include participation of a live audience at present or in the immediate future):

Major League Baseball
The players association agreed to a 60-game shortened season with spring training, which began on July 1. Normally, the 30 MLB teams each play 162 games from late March or early April to late September or early October, followed by a postseason.

Each club will play 40 games against opponents of its own division (10 apiece), plus 20 games spread among those from the opposite league’s geographical division (East vs. East, Central vs. Central, and West vs. West). That sets up the postseason, which will expand to a 16-team format (eight in each league).

With the first regular-season NFL game scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10 and Sept. 13 marking the season opening of Sunday Night Football, hopes are high that the season can still be held on time.

NCAA football is also supposed to start in the fall, though several smaller leagues, such as the Ivy and Colonial, have already cancelled their seasons, and others remain in flux over continuing uncertainty over whether students will return to campuses.

The NBA resumed play on July 30 with a doubleheader featuring the Jazz vs. Pelicans and Clippers vs. Lakers. The latest possible date for a Game 7 of the NBA Finals will be on Oct. 13.

The U.S. Open at press time is scheduled from Monday, August 31 through Sunday, September 13.

The Summer Olympics Tokyo 2020 on NBC were postponed one year, until July 23, 2021. The Paralympics were also delayed, to Aug. 24, 2021.