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Take Me Back to the Ballpark - Returning to the Stadium After Covid-19: Part 1

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Most of us have not attended any live major sporting events since March 11, 2020 or before. Now that the Covid threat is retreating in the United States as a result of mass vaccinations, the stadiums are starting to open up, each with varying degrees of Covid-era restrictions.

As people start to leave the comfort and relatively safety of their homes, there is bound to be some confusion and anxiety about attending large gatherings with a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. This post details some of my recent observations on this new post-Covid stadium world based on my experience attending a dozen sporting events during the last few months.

Immediately after that fateful date of March 11, 2020, live sports essentially ceased throughout the entire globe for about 2 months. The next morning, hundreds of games were canceled and most sports leagues totally shut down.

On that last night of sports, I happened to be in Edmonton, Alberta with a close friend for a three-game hockey trip to Alberta. Before the game, not yet understanding the scope of the pandemic, we merely feared that the Oilers game against the Winnipeg Jets would be canceled. Throughout the day we scanned Twitter to read about the latest rumblings from the sports world and beyond about the coming threat.

Without games, stadiums became mass vaccination With covid retreating, fans started to get welcomed

sites. back in limited numbers based on local guidelines.

While the March 11th Oilers’ game was not canceled, there was an eerie buzz in Rogers Place arena that night. Everywhere we went in the arena, people were talking about the pandemic threat and when it would appear on Canadian soil (note that the U.S. already was about a week further along with early Covid concerns and cases). Although the Oilers’ game was a sellout, at least ten percent of the arena’s seats were vacant due to the mounting Covid concerns. As expected, the next morning the Calgary Flames game we had hoped to attend the following night was canceled and the reality of the pandemic became more ominous.

After March 11, 2020, I had to settle for a nice exterior photo of the Calgary Saddledome, home of the NHL Calgary Flames.

For the next few months, U.S. sports fans live television options were limited to watching the Korean baseball league or soccer from far flung regions of the world.

Instead of March Madness and Opening Day for Major League Baseball, sports fans watched classic games and sports movies shown on content-starved sports networks.

A few months later, the German Bundesliga restarted their season behind closed doors, with other leagues to follow around the world during the Summer of 2020.

The last night of sports on March 11, 2020 – the Oilers With Covid coming, the kiss cam felt a bit risky.

played the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The Sadddldome ticket office displayed the grim news. Without live sporting events to attend, my family did their best to bring the action to the field on our own.

Once sports returned, the NBA played all their games in Fans leaving the Oilers game on March 11, 2020 likely

the “bubble” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports near didn’t realize they would not return for over a year.

Orlando, FL.

Rather than the sounds of baseball in April 2021, Indiana University’s Assembly Hall served as a mass

Fenway Park served Pfizer shots instead of peanuts vaccination site.

and Crackerjacks.

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