The Effects of COVID-19 on Society & The Sports World

In a span of roughly a week, life for the average person has been flipped upside down due to the global pandemic known as COVID-19, or the coronavirus.

Typically, Tuesday, March 17, would have been a day full of fun and festivities as many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the reason why the Irish never ruled the world. Or was that why God created whiskey?

Anyway, green beer, Irish music, and corned beef and cabbage were on the minds of all those that longed for a wild St. Patty’s Day.


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Not this year.

In the U.S., citizens around the country are being asked to stay home.

Workers at some of the nation’s largest companies, including those working for the major sports leagues like the NBA and NFL, have been relegated to working from home.

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Church services around the states were held online as gatherings of 10 or more people are being discouraged.

Effect on Sports

As a result, of course, the virus has hammered the sports world.

March Madness came to a screeching halt before it ever got off the ground. In a span of hours, it went from holding the event without fans to cancelling the 2020 NCAA tournament altogether for the first time in history.

Then, it snowballed.

The NBA suspended its season.

The NHL followed.

Soccer leagues around the globe stopped play.

The XFL, which was off to a great start, cancelled the remainder of its season.

Even the Master’s, golf’s premier event, has been postponed.

With the virus still in its early stages in the U.S., there is no telling when, if ever, some sports leagues will continue play.

Sports Betting

The cancellation of the NCAA tournament was a huge blow to online sportsbooks. The American Gaming Association estimated U.S. bettors wagered $8.5 billion on the 2019 tourney.

With betting on individual games out for now, futures bets are still available at online sportsbooks like America’s Bookie.

You can still place wagers on who will win the Stanley Cup and the NBA championship. A number of futures bets are on the board for Major League Baseball and the NFL, which is planning to stick to its offseason and regular season schedule.

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It appears most sportsbooks will hold futures bets until it becomes clearer when seasons may continue, if it all. Until that time, bettors can still get in on the action. They can also shift gears and head to the online casino or check out the horses at their favorite racebook.

How It All Plays Out

There is a reasonable amount of fear that the coronavirus crisis will have a disastrous effect on the American and global economies. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 provides the best example of how a country can recover.

The Spanish flu killed approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. As of early March 17, there were 4,226 reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 75 deaths. It’s probably safe to say that deaths due to the coronavirus in the U.S. will be far fewer than those due to the flu in 1918.

The Spanish flu also had a greater impact on the American economy as it attacked prime-age workers. COVID-19 is more serious in people over 60. Most of the 75 deaths in the U.S. have been seniors aged 60 and up.

The U.S. economy and society as a whole bounced back pretty quickly after the 1918 flu epidemic. Once the coronavirus reaches its peak, which it has in some parts of the world, it will become another blip in time and the world, including lovers of sports and sports betting, can get back to normalcy.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.