We get it.
You want to pack into Allegiant stadium with 65,000 of your closest friends and cheer on The Raiders. You want that feeling of camaraderie as Derek Carr throws another touchdown downfield and takes the lead during the closing moments of the game. If nothing else, you want to return to the old normal and go back to enjoying sports the way they were intended.
Who remembers the ground breaking? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/6k1eiQqRY5— Allegiant Stadium (@AllegiantStadm) June 25, 2020
The problem with that thinking, however, is that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we may never experience sports the same way again.
In fact, according to a poll from Seton Hall sports, 72% of sports fans refuse to go to sporting events until a vaccine is made for Covid-19. The same poll found that 12% of fans would still attend sporting events live, but only if social distancing measures were implemented and there were sanitation areas throughout the venue.
"The risk of transmission to the crowd is real," said Andrew Peterson, a professor and sports medicine specialist at the University of Iowa.
With Mr. Peterson's statement in mind, it's obvious that the first step to ensuring that you can safely attend a sporting event is social distancing. This could mean several empty seats between fans or groups of fans as well as mandatory masks.
Clothing is another subject that needs to be discussed, and while it is perfectly fine to wear your favorite jersey, shirt, or anything else, make sure to pack protective clothing as well. This could be anything from sweatpants, a jacket, a hoodie. Just something that is going to cover up your skin and lower your risk of infection when you get into the stands.
Finally, let's get to the hard parts. The parts that are going to make fans feel uncomfortable and get them to question whether this is worth it or not. The first thing fans are going to have to get used to is temperature checks at the door. These will be to ensure that the person is not displaying symptoms of the virus and is safe to be around others.
And now for the grand finale. The things that will make it feel less like a sporting event and more like a night at the opera- social interactions will have to be limited, and touching will most likely be frowned upon.
So yeah, no high fives, chest bumps, crazy scenes to get someone to miss a free throw, celebrating with a player in the endzone, or even kiss cam for that matter.
Sure, the players will still be out there, the crowd will be roaring like a hurricane, and the concession stands might even still have food, but it's not going to be the same. The question, however, is whether fans can deal with that or not?