Winners, losers, as sports shutters to coronavirus
The NBA is reportedly bracing for a mid-June return, and we’ll go with that optimism, because we need something.
We already know that WrestleMania 36 is going to be postponed, even if WWE doesn’t seem to know that, or want to acknowledge it, and that the best wrestling fans can hope for is several weeks of TV shows from training centers, which, actually, hey, that’s something.
If the NBA is at best mid-June, pencil that in as a best-case scenario for NASCAR, NHL and MLB as well.
At least NASCAR and MLB could still salvage around half their 2020 seasons that way.
Assuming the best-case, the NBA and NHL would likely go straight to playoff mode.
Going with these assumptions in terms of some sort of return to normalcy, the one league left unaffected, at least financially, would be the NFL.
Funny how that would work out, but the NFL doesn’t make money this time of year.
It still gets ratings for its April draft, which, again, assuming something here, that it would go on as scheduled, and there’s no reason something that involves picking names can’t be done virtually, then, boom, record ratings for this year’s NFL Draft would be a safe assumption.
The wrestling companies, WWE and AEW, assuming they can avoid any internal coronavirus outbreaks, might also be able to dodge the worst of it.
AEW, as it turns out, with a business model that has it running just one live-gate show per week, for its live TV show, might do relatively OK in the interim.
WWE, of course, loses in its second quarter financials because it doesn’t have any bump from WrestleMania for live gate and WWE Network subs, and it completely misses out on revenues from house shows, but it has big-money contracts with Fox and USA keeping money flowing in.
UFC is in a similar position with its big-dollar contract with ESPN, which, incidentally, is due to take a massive hit.
All those dollars flowing out in rights fees, and what do folks have to watch right now?
Tom Brady needs to put his free-agent decision on indefinite quarantine to give Stephen A. Smith something to endlessly pontificate about, would be a good idea.
Poor Disney, by the way: as of last Tuesday, printing money, with ESPN and amusement parks; today, not so much.
Ahem, in the meantime, we amuse ourselves with binge-watching on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu.
And for niche wrestling fans like me: WWE Network, NJPW World.
I remember saying recently that my list of shows and movies that I wanted to watch and didn’t have time to was already more than I could watch in a lifetime.
We’ll test that theory out. Mid-June, which is, again, optimistic, is three months.
Story by Chris Graham