Update: The NCAA tournament will go on without fans.
Sports teams are now making the tough decision of whether or not to proceed with allowing fans to attend games due to the threat of spreading coronavirus.
In San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors are being forced to play without a crowd due to a new San Francisco regulation prohibiting gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
Other sports leagues such as the MLB are also grappling with what they may have to do if the pandemic spreads.
They’ve already taken certain measures like limiting the media’s access and locker rooms and asking athletes to avoid shaking hands with fans and signing autographs.
Thankfully, it doesn’t look like the league is interested or even entertaining canceling any games but instead is looking at hosting games in alternative locations.
For example, there is the spring training sites in Florida and Arizona that are already hosting games and could potentially continue to host games for teams.
There’s also the possibility of relocating teams to different cities where the threat of coronavirus is very low.
Personally, I think the right decision is to play the games without crowds for right now, at least in higher risk cities like Seattle. The coronavirus was just declared a global pandemic today by the World Health Organization and all indications predict that the virus is going to continue to spread at fast rates over the next couple of weeks within the US.
I’m not saying the apocalypse is happening, but I do think it is a good idea to take precautions so as not to accelerate transmission of the disease, especially if we’re just talking about a few weeks.
As much as I love sports and as weird as it will be to watch sports on TV without a crowd reacting, I think this is the right thing to do.
The virus is known to spread in crowded areas and I think it would be wise to take a proactive approach and limit these gatherings for a temporary amount of time until we see the transmission rates decline to a satisfactory level.
Plus, my beloved Astros will avoid all the showering of boos getting thrown their way in certain stadiums.
So if you are planning any travel or have already planned travel to watch your favorite baseball team, hockey team, or basketball team over the next month or two, there is a good chance you may not be able to watch your team in person, especially if the team is on the West Coast.
Therefore, I would make sure that you have insurance on your ticket if it is nonrefundable or just hold off on booking tickets to sports games for a while.
It’s purely my own speculation but I would think that the ban on fans attending games would only last for a month or two but you never know with the way the coronavirus has spread in certain regions. If you want to read more about traveling safely amid the coronavirus you can read on here.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.