If you thought the Alliance of American Football had obstacles trying to get off the ground in 2019, this year has really upped the ante for the XFL. While the AAF had shady backers to deal with, the XFL literally has a global pandemic on its hands with the coronavirus.
Already as of the time of this writing, the NBA has indefinitely suspended all games until further notice, and the NHL is expected to follow suit. How far behind can the MLB be? Under the best-case scenarios, they will eventually be forced to take the same path the XFL will soon be taking: stadiums without fans.
— XFL (@xfl2020) March 11, 2020
By legal order, the Seattle Dragons’ game this weekend against the Los Angeles Wildcats will be played in front of empty bleachers—and not because they are unable to attract a crowd. In fact, the Seattle market has been great for the XFL, as they have attracted in excess of 20,000 fans in each of their two home games so far. Taking those tickets out of the equation is a major hole for their overall attendance numbers leaguewide.
But they have no choice , as the governor of the state of Washington has banned all gatherings in excess of 250 people. As Pro Football Talk points out, it might be hard to keep under that number just given the people who have to be in the stadium to run the game.
While nobody will be in attendance for the game, you can all tune in when it airs live on ESPN2. Like March Madness, also scheduled to resume, but without an audience, it may prove to be a somewhat surreal experience, not just for the viewers, but for the players on the field as well, who have likely been playing in front of crowds since they were children.
Making matters even worse for the Dragons is the fact that a vendor who had worked at the stadium has tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s unknown, perhaps even unknowable, how many people he exposed to the virus, and how many may contract it.
It may be only a matter of time before they, too, have to suspend their season until further notice. We may see sports on an international level come to a halt for a while by the time we have fully come to grips with the sheer breadth of what is now formally being referred to as a pandemic.