The game’s the thing
As covid-19 causes sports cancellations, what can be done?
Exhibition matches? All-star games? A solution may be needed to maintain morale
1. MOST FANS of professional sports have some kind of ritual associated with watching a game. Perhaps they wear their team’s shirt, scarf or hat to show their allegiance and bring their team luck. They may organise a “tailgate” party in the stadium car park, or head to a nearby bar to be with friends. For many, the match is the highlight of the week. And their emotions will rise and fall with the fortunes of their team. So the sudden cancellation of sporting events because of the coronavirus outbreak has come as a great disappointment.
2. Almost all the most prestigious events have been postponed: top-flight football matches, professional basketball and its “March madness” college equivalent, Major League Baseball, professional ice hockey, the Masters golf, the French Open tennis and Formula 1 car-racing. The Euro 2020 football championship has been put off until 2021. The prospects for the Tokyo Olympics in July and August are doubtful.
几乎所有负有盛名的体育赛事都被推迟了，包括：顶级足球比赛、职业篮球及其“疯狂三月”大学赛事、美国职业棒球大联盟(Major League Baseball)、职业冰球、美国高尔夫名人赛(Masters golf)、法国网球公开赛(French Open tennis)和一级方程式赛车(Formula 1)。2020年欧洲足球锦标赛被推迟到2021年。7月和8月东京奥运会是否会如期举行还是未知。
3. The economic implications will be significant. Sport is a big business. As well as attending games, American fans buy around $15bn of sports merchandise annually. Globally, many fans pay to subscribe to a sports channel to watch games; the global audience for English Premier League football was 3.2bn people last season in 188 countries. The TV rights for Premier League matches are worth ￡3.1bn ($3.6bn) a season. Loyal viewers mean companies like to associate themselves with teams; global sports sponsorship was estimated to be worth $55bn in 2018. Up to $150bn is wagered illegally on sports every year in the United States and more than 50% of Americans have placed a sports bet at some point.
这将对经济产生重大影响。体育是一个大产业。除了观看比赛，美国球迷每年还购买约150亿美元的体育产品。在全球范围内，许多球迷付费订阅体育频道观看比赛；上个赛季，英超联赛(English Premier League)在全球188个国家拥有32亿观众。英超联赛的电视转播权每赛季价值31亿英镑(合36亿美元)。忠实的观众意味着公司喜欢把自己与球队联系起来；据估计，2018年全球体育赞助价值550亿美元。在美国，每年有高达1500亿美元的非法体育博彩，超过50%的美国人曾在某个时点下过体育赌注。
4. But the effect on consumer sentiment of the hiatus may be even greater. Surveys suggest that 59% of Americans are sports fans. For many, the loss of their favourite sports events will compound the effect of being stuck at home. An important source of enjoyment will disappear. And alternative sources of entertainment are hard to find. Big movie releases, such as the latest James Bond film and Disney’s “Mulan”, have been postponed. Broadway has been closed down. Many rock concerts have been cancelled or postponed. Classical recitals have gone the same way.
5. The cancellations are understandable. Allowing people to congregate in huge numbers during a pandemic seems like a big risk. Mass events also require a large presence of police and emergency services who may be needed elsewhere.
6. John Maynard Keynes talked a lot about the importance of “animal spirits” to economic growth. How will consumers feel when all forms of collective enjoyment are denied them? There are only so many Netflix shows one can binge-watch without going stir crazy. The Romans understood the importance of “bread and circuses”—keeping the public not just fed, but entertained, too. Hence the provision of gladiatorial games and chariot races in ancient times.
约翰?梅纳德?凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)多次谈到“动物精神”对经济增长的重要性。当所有形式的集体享受都被剥夺时，消费者会作何感想？Netflix上的剧只有那么多，一个人可以一口气看完，而且还不会发疯。罗马人懂得“面包和马戏”的重要性——不仅要让公众吃饱，还要让他们享受。因此，古代就有了角斗和战车比赛。
7. In the Second World War many sports were cancelled as players were conscripted into the armed services. But exhibition games were played where possible. A British services eleven played football in newly liberated Paris and Brussels in September 1944. In America a women’s baseball league was organised. Tyler Cowen, an economist, has proposed that a small number of elite athletes could be tested for the virus and then cocooned. After a quarantine period, they could play all-star games to keep citizens entertained, with audiences watching via the internet or TV. It seems an idea worth exploring. If all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, then no work and no play risks making Jack (and Jill) depressed and discontented.
How do they overcome the roadblock and maintain the morale of their team as well as suppliers?
allegiance n. 拥护, 忠诚
People have an allegiance to this dynasty.
tailgate n. 后挡板；下闸门
Just ready to experience everything. Tomorrow tailgating and then going into the game.
cancellation n. 取消,注销;作废,废除;删去,划掉；被取消的事物
The delays and cancellations lasted a week.
wager n. 赌博；赌注；赌物v. 打赌；下赌注
I made a wager that our team would win.
hiatus n. 裂缝，空隙；脱漏部分
All of my favorites are being renewed, with one taking a short hiatus.
sentiment n. (对怜悯、怀旧等的)柔情；态度或意见；观点; 意见
We've had anti-immigration sentiment in both countries, anti-globalization sentiment.
congregate vt. & vi. (使)集合, 聚集
People quickly congregated round the busker.
animal spirit 动物精神；信心
“动物精神”一词，是借用自凯恩斯（John Maynard Keynes）的著名概念：经济学家凯恩斯的基本出发点是，投资行为不能用理论或理性选择去解释，因为经济前景根本难以捉摸。因此他提出投资的冲动要靠“动物精神”，即靠自然本能的驱动。）也即是凯恩斯老先生讲的买股票故事，当经济好的时候，大家的信心都很高涨，认为股票会一直涨下去，大家都愿意进行购买，于是推动着股票强劲上升。但如果信心丧失，大家对未来抱为悲观情绪，都不敢买，不去消费，整个经济的刺激计划效果就要打许多折扣了。
gladiatorial adj. 斗剑者的,争论的
Capable of seating 50, 000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
chariot n. 敞篷双轮马车(古代用于战争或竞赛)，战车
Chariots were used in ancient times for fighting, racing, and in processions.
cocoon n. 茧；卵囊vt. 把……紧紧包住
Most worms cocoon in winter.