Youth sports have been greatly affected by the onset of coronavirus as a global pandemic. Virtually every nation has introduced lockdowns leading to the mass cancellations of youth (plus adult) sporting events and any other form of mass social gatherings. The rapid spread of COVID19 across the globe convinced most governments that sports events, schools, and non-essential businesses had to be shut down until the virus had stopped spreading and was no longer killing people. The major problem is that nobody is in a position to know when the lockdowns will end. The cancellations could be over in a few weeks, or they could stay with us for several months.
Aside from soccer in Belarus or soccer and rugby league in Australia, it has been remarkable how quickly sports have been stopped around the world. Apart from air travel, major sporting events have been attributed as a means of inadvertently spreading the virus. For instance, Champions League and Europa League matches have been pinpointed as focal points for transmitting the virus, especially in Spain and Italy. The suspension of sports has meant that clubs have declining revenue, TV stations have less to broadcast, and fans are missing their favorite sports. However, until the virus has gone it is not viable to restart sports even behind closed doors.
The cancellation of youth sports adds to the disruption that the coronavirus has caused. In most countries, it has had a disruptive and possibly disastrous impact on the economy. If the lockdowns continue for several months it could lead to a global recession. At the local level the shutting down of sports events, even amateur, and youth ones does further economic damage. Youth events attract people to bars and cafes. These are all shut because of the virus, but had already lost money as sports events were canceled before. With colleges and high schools shut there is the realistic prospect of no sports being played for months. No baseball, basketball, soccer or hockey being played means that players need to stay fit yet cannot train together.
With the cancellation of youth sports, it means that it leaves the prospect of leagues and seasons bein abandoned, or extra matches being played to complete seasons. The inability to complete seasons could mean that teams do not win titles, get promoted or get relegated. In other words, the games played before the lockdown may not count anything, not even local pride or bragging rights. Yet the finishing of baseball and soccer seasons seems to be a trivial matter while people are dying because of COVID19. Sport should not come back until it is safe to do so. Although people miss playing in or watching youth sports, the return of matches is not high on the priority list. No sports hurts the economy, yet with all non-essential businesses closed or forced to operate from homes the overall economic outlook is bleak until the virus goes away.
Sports will surely survive this global pandemic, yet the longer it lasts the more economic damage it will cause. Economic decline and renewed recession could greatly alter what sports are played, and at what level. Yet the focus should be on beating the virus, and then get back to normal by going to school, work and playing / watching sports.