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Clippings: How will fans be involved when sports resume?

The NBA and other leagues can take some inspiration from Europe.

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SIDO - Live! At Drive-In Cinema During The Coronavirus Crisis Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

As the NBA tries to figure out a plan to resume its season, the league has been looking to Southeast Asia for a model on how to play sports during the pandemic. Basketball has been difficult to restart, but the Korean Baseball Organization and the Chinese Professional Baseball League (in Taiwan) are each operational, though without fans.

Basketball presents different challenges than baseball, considering the amount of contact players have with one another. Nevertheless, the NBA seems committed to playing out the 2019-20 season in some form or another. The league is already allowing teams in markets that have relaxed stay-at-home orders to reopen their practice facilities on May 1. Although group workouts remain prohibited, and several GMs have concerns about the logistics of such a plan, there remains momentum to bring the NBA back.

That begs the question: what happens to the fans?

In Europe, large spectator events are being changed to a drive-in format. Sido, a German rapper, held a drive-in concert in Dusseldorf, Germany, this weekend where the audience could watch him on a large screen and still listen to him live. FC Midtjylland, a soccer club in Denmark, is building large video boards outside its stadium so that fans can pull up in the parking lot, watch, and cheer together.

Eventually, American leagues will let fans back into stadiums and arenas with an entirely new protocol for how to experience live games with regards to distance between seats, food distribution, and a number of other factors. For now, with fans presumably strictly prohibited, domestic leagues should take note of how Europe is handling its situation for guidance.

On to the links...