NFL Draft is a welcome sports respite, but we should enjoy it while we can
The NFL Draft will be held this week, and like everything else these days, it will be done virtually. For the viewer, this won't be much of a problem. We really don't need to see Roger Goodell hug every draft pick. The reality is, all we care about is who will be going to which team. So from a fan's standpoint, nothing changes. And that's a good thing, because this is the closest we will get to sports for a long time.
The worst-case scenarios
While sports leagues are exploring every option to return as soon as possible, there are a lot of experts hinting that having any sports in 2020 might be improbable. From a practical standpoint, this would suck for all of us as fans, not to mention those of us who do sports talk and run a website called SportsMap.
But lost has been the potential impact on the leagues themselves. The NFL was counting on new TV deals for increased revenue and an ever-expanding salary cap. But will the money still be there as companies struggle? If there are no fans, no concessions, how much revenue will be lost? And even if the fans are allowed back, how many will no longer be able to afford to go to games? How many companies, crippled by the loss of revenue, will be able to afford suites?
And this will obviously trickle down to all sports, including college football, the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS. In the worst-case scenario, could we see some teams simply no longer able to survive? Contraction could become a real possibility in the worst-case scenario. Not to mention all the jobs related to these leagues - sports bars, transportation, and yes, sports talk and sports Web sites.
More than just sports
Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, sports aren't the only things that might not come back in the form we recognize them. Concerts and event venues. Movie theaters. All forms of entertainment are going to be impacted, and not in a good way. Not to mention the jobs that have already been lost in the non-entertainment industry, and those that are going to be lost moving forward. The sports world kind of pales in comparison to that, but the impact these leagues have on the economy does not.
Some good news
Yes, horse racing is still out there fattening the curve, as is the WWE, even with no fans in attendance. So we do have a few things to watch. But the draft will give us a taste of a major sport. We can fret over what the Texans might do with their second day picks. Discuss whether or not the Cowboys should pay Dak or make a move for another QB. Where will Tua go? Is Joe Burrow a lock to go No. 1? Will the virtual draft go off without a hitch? What boneheaded move will Bill O'Brien make? Let's enjoy these few days of sports normalcy.
Because who knows when we will have them again?