Why the bubble has been a sports fan's dream come true
The NBA playoffs are under way, with all day basketball. The NHL playoffs are also in full swing, and after a play-in round, we are getting three or four games a day.
From a fan's perspective, they have both been rousing successes.
While it sucks people can't be at the games, both leagues have done a terrific job of managing the events. The quality of play has been better than expected after a long layoff, and we have seen some incredible moments.
The feared Covid spread has not happened, so the bubble concept is clearly working.
The leagues themselves are losing millions with no fans, but they are at least getting TV money. The good news? If they have to start next season without fans, they now have a workable model.
With many people stuck working from home, it is possible to get work done and watch all the games at the same time. It is also a betting person's bonanza.
Many were skeptical that this could be pulled off, but Dana White was doing it for months with the UFC. Constant testing, limited contact and social distancing have worked like a charm.
In the case of the NBA, the 8-9 seed play-in was a huge success. Who got in to that matchup came down to the last shot of a game only made it better. In the NHL, the play-in round gave teams like Chicago and Montreal - who would have missed the playoffs in a normal year - a chance to earn a spot in the big tournament.
In essence, what we have seen is very much like the first week of the NCAA Tournament, which is one of the best sporting events of the year. One game after another, exciting action and all of our favorite players.
It would be cool to see both leagues maybe implement a version of this going forward. Yes, it waters things down to have so many playoff teams, but the atmosphere has been incredible.
The NFL should consider something similar, but they seem committed to the baseball model. Despite some Covid cases, that has worked well also. There was never going to be a scenario where there would be no one getting sick. Considering how few outbreaks there have been, it has to be considered a success as well.
So all in all, sports have returned, and they have been worth the wait. The bubble has worked. The set up has worked. The playoffs are working.
The leagues have made the best of a bad situation, and somehow made it even better.