It’s great that the Bundesliga is back and has been for a couple weeks now. It gives people who’ve been deprived of live sports something to watch. But Germany never had a serious problem dealing with the coronavirus. Simply put, the Germans have handled the mitigation and containment procedures exceptionally well. However, that hasn’t been the case with some other European countries. That said, the upcoming league relaunches in June will be incredibly more consequential.
Next month, Portugal’s Primeira Liga (June 3rd), Spain’s La Liga (June 11th), England’s Premier League (June 17th) and Italy’s Serie A (June 20th) will all resume their seasons. This will come as an incredible boost to a few hard-hit nations who need the power of The Beautiful Game to help them return to a semblance of normal life. However, this also represents a huge leap in terms of restarting community events. Even though fans won’t be permitted, likely not until there’s a viable vaccine, there’s still plenty of risk considering that dozens of people will be present for these matches.
So, here’s why these league restarts will be so consequential: if the leagues in these hard-hit countries can show that they can safely play soccer, it’ll give the national governments confidence that other key aspects of public life can return as well. Obviously, everything will have to have precautions attached to them, but it represents a step in the right direction.
From a business perspective, this also is incredibly important. Since these leagues have TV deals that have been put on hold, the league restarts ensure that money won’t be lost. Unfortunately, France’s Ligue 1 won’t have that opportunity, since the season was cancelled (and now is seeing legal action from sides that are being relegated or missed out on European competition because of the abrupt end), but the rest of the Big 5 leagues will, as well as Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
I, for one, welcome the return of soccer. Watching the Bundesliga without fans has produced some interesting results, including the fact that homefield advantage is non-existent without cheering fans. German home squads have lost more matches than they’ve won or drawn combined, which makes for a much more interesting storyline, and an even playing field.