What are your options for experiencing some sport this year, even if it is in a smaller crowd than would normally be the case?
The motor racing season started off behind closed doors, with the first eight races carried out without any spectators. This changed with the Tuscan Grand Prix in Italy, where 2,800 were allowed in each day. In the US, NASCAR races have also attracted big crowds since the pandemic began.
The Russian Grand Prix in Sorochi then welcomed some 30,000 visitors per day to the Olympic Park venue. This led to hopes that the rest of the season would be completed in front of spectators, but a series of positive tests from the Sorochi race have affected the outlook.
The next F1 event, in Turkey, will be held at the Istanbul Park Circuit. The original plan was to allow up to 100,00 fans in. Current news stories suggest that it will now be behind closed doors. Hopefully, the remaining motor racing events after this will be with spectators.
The open air and large distances involved make cycling an ideal candidate for letting spectators back to sport. This year´s Tour de France was delayed before being finally run in August/September.
With the French authorities currently banning gatherings of more than 5,000 people, this limit was controlled at the start and finish areas of stages. It appears to have been successful, with no reports of increased infection rates arising from it.
In October, the Giro d’Italia will take place in Italy. Crowds will be allowed here too, with social distancing measures in place to try and lower the risk of infections occurring.
The world of tennis has also welcomed back crowds in recent weeks. While the US Open was played behind closed doors, the French Open was recently completed in Paris with a reduced numbers of spectators in the stands.
It seems likely that the approach at other tournaments will vary depending upon where they are held and the local rules in place there. Upcoming events include the European Open in Belgium and the Sofia Open in Bulgaria.
Another sport where the restrictions vary from country to country is basketball. While some basketball authorities have decided to cancel their seasons, others are carrying on behind closed doors, and others are letting limited numbers of fans in.
The NBA in the US is the world´s biggest league and they are currently playing their games behind closed doors. Basketball fans can still see the big games on TV and bet on NBA games online in BetAmerica.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently stated that they hope the 2021 season will be played in each teams´ home stadiums and with fans in place. In Europe, seven of the venues will start the 2020-21 season with from 400 up to 7,500 spectators.
The rules for soccer matches are also varied across the planet. If we look at the big European leagues, the plan was for the EPL in England to let spectators back in during October. Yet, this has now been put back until at least November.
Among the countries that are leading the way with crowds getting back in is Germany. Bundesliga teams let their fans back into stadiums from September, with no problems apparently resulting from it.
A Look Ahead
Sports fans still won´t find it easy to get to any events in the rest of 2020. However, the signs are good that 2021 will see an improvement in this respect.