We think it’s safe to say that, after more than a month of no games and no tournaments, sports fans were starving for news.
Thursday night’s first round of the 2020 NFL Draft – not a game, just teams picking players to play in games at a later date – had a record combined average audience of 15.6 million viewers for coverage on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, and digital channels, the NFL announced Friday. The viewership shattered the old record of 12.4 million viewers, set in 2014.
We miss our live sporting events. We miss them even more because we’re stuck inside, watching reruns of Super Bowl XLV, or of final rounds of The Masters from previous years.
We also miss going to the ballpark, to the arena, to the stadium. But that is something we will probably not get back at the same time we can have the live events.
There’s the all-too-real possibility that our favorite spectator sports will have to be played in front of no fans, that sports leagues and tours will be able to clear the players to play well before communities will be able to open the venues to let the fans watch in person.
If that’s our only option, we will take it.
If you’ve seen a major sporting event played in an empty stadium, you know how odd and a little sad those can be. No fans cheering the home team and booing the visitors. No explosion of excitement at a big play.
We don’t want to imagine Giannis Antetokounmpo defying gravity on his way to a thunderous dunk, or Christian Yelich smashing a ball over the Miller Park fence, or Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams connecting for a long touchdown pass, without a crowd roaring its approval.
But as we wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to subside to the point where mass gatherings won’t make the pandemic worse, we’d much rather have games in empty stadiums that we can watch on television than have no games at all.
We’ll throw open our windows and cheer with our neighbors if we have to.
Mostly, we sports fans just want the games back.
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