dodgeball 2Art imitates life as this fictional network from the film “Dodgeball” becomes real.

MU Sports Fans, Networks Rethink Sports under Quarantine

Erin Hickle

COVID-19 is not only impacting the lives of students across the country but it also has affected athletes and sports fans alike. Many collegiate and professional sports have been postponed or canceled for the remainder or start of the 2020 seasons. Not only have homegrown leagues been affected, but the Olympics have also been postponed.

As a result, the media surrounding sports has had to adjust to the unique circumstances. Sports fans all over have felt the impacts of these decisions and have been forced to adapt to new methods in the way they view their favorite sporting events. Manchester University students are among these fans that are learning to accept this new reality of sporting entertainment.

ESPN has started showing reruns of previously played games, particularly old games from NCAA March Madness Tournaments. “It’s nice to be able to watch games, even if they have already been played,” said Alex Baker, a Manchester senior. “It gives fans a chance to relive games and see some legends play from years ago. Some of the excitement of the game has been taken away, though, if you already know the outcome.”

The MLB Network, along with other professional league channels, is also showing old games. Conferences such as the SEC and Big Ten have joined other networks in showing old games and documentaries highlighting players, coaches, teams, and organizations, or universities.

“The MLB network, for example, has been playing really old games which are fun to watch as a former baseball player,” said Isaac Miller, an MU junior. “My dad and I like to watch sports together, so it’s nice to be able to still watch with each other, even if the games aren’t current.”

Sports networks have also turned their focus onto what players and teams are doing during the impromptu offseason. Updates are being broadcast, include the rating of teams as they draw closer to draft time, keeping up with players, reflecting on past events and notable games, and discussing any other news from within the sports community. Fans can keep up to date with tentative game dates, players and organizations through the networks, apps and through their computers.

Another unorthodox option sports fans have turned to is video games. There are numerous sports-related games where fans can act as players to compete against online friends. While they are not real games being played, video games offer players a way to experience that excitement of competition and participate again. They also allow fans to see some of their favorite players and teams once again.

Not only are people playing their sports virtually, but some have decided to play the sports themselves when able.

Many students have actually turned away from watching sports altogether, however. Direct TV is offering free movie channels to their customers. Streaming services like Netflix are continuing to offer new and old TV shows and movies for subscribers to stream and binge.

“It’s not sports, but it’s nice to have other options,” Miller said.

Sports fans are keeping up to date and adapting to the changes COVID-19 has brought to the sports world across the nation whether it is watching reruns, playing E-sports, or turning off sports altogether.