There is no doubt that the recent global pandemic has hit societies hard. Not only are many nations now being locked down for an indefinite amount of time, but countless sporting events have been postponed to a later date or even canceled entirely until the virus finally abates. Perhaps the most well-known example of this can be seen in the announcements regarding the planned 2020 Olympics. This brings up an important question. Might the upcoming US Open be affected in a similar manner? Let us try and take a look at this question from a more pragmatic point of view in order to draw tentative conclusions.
What is the Current State of Affairs in the United States?
We first need to keep in mind the fact that modern society has never witnessed a health crisis of this size. Thus, it is very difficult for officials to know exactly what to do in order to mitigate its potential impact. While the United States is undoubtedly one of the most advanced nations on the planet, it also has an immense population (just over 327 million inhabitants). This is concerning, as larger populations may have more difficulty controlling a serious outbreak.
It is just as important to mention that the US Open is slated to be held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. As this state is currently experiencing a steep rise in cases, we are left to wonder whether or not organizers will decide to delay the event until the number of infected begins to drop. As the entire city is now essentially locked down, there are also chances that the viral spread will begin to decline in the coming weeks. However, there are few certainties in this day and age. This same sentiment seems to have been expressed by the organizers in recent days.
How Might the Coronavirus Affect Large Gatherings of Sports?
The main problem with the US Open (and any other sporting event for that matter) is the fact that it will attract tens of thousands of visitors over the course of the competition. As these individuals are found within close proximity of one another, the chances for the virus to spread are much easier when compared to the social distancing recommendations being espoused by health care professionals.
This is also why countless matches and competitions within the entire sports industry have been postponed for an appreciable about of time. If we assume that the virus continues to pick up pace in New York and throughout the United States, it is a rather foregone conclusion that officials may decide to cancel the US Open or only allow it to be played behind closed doors and without the presence of fans. However, might there be other options worth considering for those who avidly follow tennis? Why could it be a good idea to modify the timeline of the event itself?
What About the Timeline?
News about the US Open tournament that will happen on 24 August 2020 is still emerging on a daily basis and websites such as Oddspedia will always keep fans informed. This is why it is a good idea to consider what would occur if the event happens to be postponed (most likely into the early autumn). There are several issues to address. First, those who have already purchased tickets may be offered a full refund or their reservations could simply be delayed while remaining valid until a date has been set. Another possibility could involve changing the venue of the US Open; perhaps to a location found well outside of a large metropolitan area. Organizers would once again have to relay this decision to fans and of course, many guests will need to be provided with some form of compensation if they are unable to attend due to driving distances or other logistical problems. Assuming that the virus continues to spread within New York City and throughout the United States, it is only logical to assume that those who are hosting the US Open will have to make a decision within the relatively near future.
How Might the Decision be Made?
This is another interesting question, as postponing the US Open will likely fall to a handful of the top organizers. According to the official website, the decision would take into account input from various governing bodies including:
- The WTA
- The ATP
- The ITF
- The Laver Cup
- Others who are in charge of similar Grand Slam tournaments
In other words, it will never be left to a single individual. A collective analysis will likewise enable a more objective opinion to be formed. It might also allow organizers to brainstorm in the hopes of coming up with additional options.
The Benefits of Live Online Streaming
However, this does not signify that all hope is lost. We need to keep in mind that the US Open might still be able to be played behind closed doors and without the presence of fans. The good news is that live streaming technology and similar types of remote viewing will enable fans to keep up to date with the latest action as it occurs. If we assume that the US Open will indeed take place in this manner, it only stands to reason that the organizers will provide numerous media-related resources for fans. This is particularly relevant for those who might be hoping to place a handful of wagers on the outcome of the competition. Being able to access real-time information and updates is essential in order to make an informed choice when the time is right.
We are living in very strange times and while the recent pandemic will pass with time, we also need to embrace the fact that our lives will be temporarily disrupted. The same holds true in regard to popular sporting events such as the US Open. However, a sense of normalcy will return in the not-so-distant future.