Last year was a bit of a strange one for pretty much everyone, and so far this year, it’s feeling like there will be a lot of the same. One area that felt the impact of the pandemic was sports. When it was allowed to go ahead, it was often without any crowds, which somewhat changed the atmosphere. Many sports are back this year, some with spectators and some without, but it’s probably still going to be a little different to a standard year. However, there are plenty of reasons to get excited for a new season, no matter which sport or sports you follow.
We’ve Missed It
There’s no doubt that a lot of us have missed our favorite sports. Some have had to be cancelled for safety, while others have only had a few events to follow. Even if your favorite sports have mostly been in the offseason over the past months, following what’s happening with your teams and favorite athletes has been different compared to other years. While everything might not be completely back to normal this year, many sports will be coming back and making the most of what they are able to do. After a long absence for many, it’s going to be exciting to have them back.
It’s Going to Be an Interesting Year
One thing’s for certain about this year in sport, and that’s that it will be an interesting year. After everything that has happened over the last year, sport has certainly been shaken up. From a postponed summer Olympics to cancelled games and matches, the year has had an effect on individual sports as a whole, as well as individual athletes. Many people are anticipating how the unusual offseason will affect the 2020-21 NBA season, which began at the end of December and is scheduled to run until mid-May. With fewer games than usual and fan attendance limited, the season will look different but is at least still going ahead.
Looking at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, athletes who have been training for the last four years suddenly had their events postponed for a year. It will be interesting to see what the athletes have done with their year, and whether it affects their performance.
It’s Easy to Follow from Home
The limit on live spectators for sports is one of the biggest changes to content with in sport, both last year and this year. The rules vary between sports and locations, from no fans at all to friends and family or a venue capacity of a certain percent. Some countries that have managed to deal well with the pandemic will be able to allow larger crowds, but many sports will be dealing with limited numbers. However, the great thing about most sports is how easy they are to follow from home. Not only does that enable you to keep up with your favorites, but it also means you have something to do without leaving the house.
A lot of people are still isolating, shielding, working from home or just trying to remain home as much as possible. You might be unable to play sports yourself or go to the gym, but you can still follow sports while at home. It’s something to keep you entertained and something that you can watch live, even if you’re not able to attend in person.
It Brings People Together
Another excellent reason to get excited about sports this year is the sense of togetherness it offers. Sports has always brought people together, whether it’s through shared passion and teams or friendly rivalry. We need togetherness more than ever when we’re not able to meet up as much in person, and sports can be a great excuse to keep talking to friends and family. You always have something to discuss, and you can even watch events live together with the right technology. A fantasy league or little wagers between you could also give you fun ways to experience your favorite sports together.
More Fans in Stands
To start with, there may be few fans attending events this year. But many anticipate that as the year progresses, there will be a gradual increase in the number of fans allowed in the stands. This might not mean 100% capacity for all venues, but it could increase your chances of being allowed to attend. With vaccinations becoming available, it could soon mean that larger crowds are possible. Even if you’re watching from home, there’s something about being able to watch people in attendance providing their support in person. Look out for tickets to events near you, but be sure to stay safe if you do decide to go somewhere.
Fresh Faces in Sports
Sports fans in a number of sports have been enjoying watching newcomers and up-and-coming stars make some noise in their chosen sports. Seeing younger players come onto the scene and perhaps start doing things a little differently is always interesting. Apart from playing well on the field or court, many of them have big personalities elsewhere and are outspoken about both the sport and other issues that they feel passionate about. If this is something you enjoy, you’re sure to see plenty of it in 2021.
Virtual Fan Events
In-person events might be on many people’s wish lists this year, but even without them, there should be plenty of virtual fan events to watch out for. Clubs have taken the initiative to ensure they are still connecting with fans, and there are sure to be more conferences, live streamed content and social media content available for fans this year. While these things can feel a little different to watching standard broadcasts, many clubs have got into their stride and are mastering new formats that help them to stay connected.
The Return of Many Competitions
COVID-19 disrupted many sports last year and even led to the postponement or cancellation of many competitions and events. However, this year, we can expect to see the return of many sports and competitions that weren’t able to go ahead last year or that likely wouldn’t have taken place if they were scheduled for last year instead of this year. There are even plenty of international competitions, which would have been very unlikely in some parts of 2020.
The Fun of Rivalries
One of the best things about following a sport and picking a team or athlete that you root for is the rivalries. It’s all in good fun, but it’s always enjoyable to get on board with the rivalries that grow and change over the years. Whether it’s a long-established rivalry that has been in place since the inception of two teams or it’s a more recent competition between teams or players that have been running a tight race against each other, picking a side just makes things more fun. You get to cheer them on, and you get to shove it in other people’s faces when they win and the team or athlete they support loses.
It’s a Sense of Normalcy
Things might look a little different in sports this year, but plenty of scheduled seasons are still going ahead. To be able to follow the same sports that you usually do, at the same time of year, offers a sense of normalcy that can’t be understated. It’s great to be able to watch the sports that you love and have them return when you expect them to.
There are lots of reasons to be excited about sports this year, whether you like golf, hockey, netball or athletics.