People weren’t exactly sure what to expect when the clock hit midnight to usher in the new millennium, as the years proceeding the end of the century were filled with speculation concerning a potential global crisis because computer programmers forgot to take the inevitable passage of time into account when crafting the software the world came to rely on.
As a result, there was an uptick in the number of people who stocked up on emergency supplies to prepare for a worst-case scenario that never came, and since then, the trend has continued thanks to “preppers” who stock their underground bunkers to the brim with canned goods and live ammunition in case the world goes to shit.
While preppers have been at the receiving end of plenty of derision for being overly paranoid, more and more members of the general public have been doing some stockpiling of their own as they flock to Costco and raid shelves at pharmacies and groceries stores thanks to the evergrowing concern about a potential pandemic brought to us courtesy of COVID-19.
The number of people who’ve been diagnosed with the untreatable strain of coronavirus that originated in China last year has continued to rise at a steady pace while the stock market does the exact opposite and the world braces to see just how big of an economic impact the illness will have.
However, as someone with a laughably small portfolio and a ticket to Wrestlemania 36, I’m far more concerned with the impact coronavirus has had on the world of sports, as governing bodies around the globe have begun to put together contingency plans in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading.
Last week, Serie A announced that games in Italy—which recently put 16 million people in its northern region on lockdown—will be played without fans in the stands and the NBA has told teams to prepare to do the same (although the Lakers may be without the services of LeBron James if that ends up happening).
Maryland’s governor also made the decision to bar fans from attending the NCAA Division III tournament over the weekend, which has led to some concern that the tournament that people actually care about could suffer a similar fate.
However, on Sunday, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt chatted with CBS and said the organization currently has no intention of allowing March Madness to be impacted and that fans will be more than welcome to attend every game played after Selection Sunday rolls around.
We still have a little over a week until the tournament tips off, so while things could certainly change over that point in time, the majority of the over $1 billion in revenue the NCAA generates every year comes courtesy of March Madness.
Given the NCAA’s reputation for loving money as much as it hates its student-athletes making any, I’d be shocked if they change their mind regardless of how dire things may get.