“If it’s something we have to do, we have to pay that price”

Players could soon resume their sports, but without fans in the stands

Cal Petersen, Staff Writer

Have you ever been to or played in a sports game with a roaring crowd? If so, you know how much the fans can help motivate or embarrass you and your team. 

Imagine yourself in a basketball game. You’re dribbling down the court with the game on the line, and with three seconds left you shoot, the ball goes in, and…the arena remains silent because there’s not a single fan in the stands.

Due to Covid-19, this may soon be a reality for sports leagues across the nation, including the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL. 

Several star athletes have commented on the possibility of playing games with no crowds, including LeBron James.

“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing, if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for,” said James, addressing the controversial prospect way back at the beginning of March while sports before much of the nation came to a screeching halt just a few weeks later.

If and when the NBA resumes its season, James probably won’t have a choice other than to play in a relatively quiet arena where the squeaking of shoes on hardwood will be one of the only sounds echoing through the empty building.

Major League Baseball is in the exact same situation as they look to begin their season that was supposed to start in late March.

“It’s not something we want,” current Minnesota Twins third baseman and former Atlanta Braves player Josh Donaldson told the Star Tribune in April. “It’s not something we’re going to necessarily enjoy, fans not being there. But if it’s something we have to do, you have to pay that price.”

Not only will a lack of fans affect the atmosphere at games, it will also affect the revenue that these leagues generate. No fans in the stands means no tickets or concessions to sell. 

While there’s plenty of negatives to this potential new reality of live sports, there are a few positives. TV ratings will drastically rise, which will hopefully offset some of the dwindling revenue streams for teams, plus we’ll personally be saving a lot of money. Attending a live sporting event is fun, but tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise can add up quickly.

This certainly isn’t a situation that anyone wants or could ever have expected, but it’s here and now leagues, owners, players, and fans must adapt. And remember, sports without fans is better than what we currently have now, which is fans without sports.