As our country prepares to endure a coronavirus pandemic likely to kill more Americans than we lost in any war in our history, it becomes harder and harder to imagine a return to a normal anything like we had before.
Maybe it’s an overreaction but the emotional and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our country and the world is going to change life as we have known it into something dramatically different going forward. Less fortunate parts of the globe could easily slide into a dystopian reality, while others could require decades to fully recover from the tragic losses of life, liberty, and opportunity this deadly plague has stolen from them.
Internationally, the planet is going to become a less bountiful and less trustworthy world. Rather than embracing globalization and globalism, we’re more likely to see a resurgence in nationalism and isolationism. Interpersonally, we may see similar traits among individuals, a distrust and fear of large crowds, an increased tendency to relate digitally rather than personally, a new social order that changes how we interact with others.
We’re already seeing major changes that may be previews of what’s to come. Can anybody doubt retail stores, movie theaters, and sporting events are going lose the wars with their online versions even faster going forward? Buying groceries, eating out, and going to the gym have been usurped by Instacart, Doordash, and Peloton and going to work, school, or the doctor’s office replaced by telecommuting, telemedicine, and online education.
So what does that bode for professional sports and the NBA in particular? With NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings, NFL Sunday Ticket, and a host of live streaming options, going to the games has almost become obsolete. The extravagant cost of tickets to live games has turned the average fan into a televiewer and transformed seats in modern stadiums and arenas into exclusive luxury boxes which are capable of generating more revenue.
The idea of NBA teams playing in empty arenas due to the coronavirus pandemic could be a forbearer of games held in the not so distant future in arenas with the fans protected by glass sealed and mic’d up luxury suites. Teams could even staff arenas with team avatars, professional fans whose jobs would be to replicate the feeling and intensity of a live crowd for the benefit of the luxury box audience and millions of remote viewers.
It’s a future where people bunkered down in their homes have avatars run their errands, do their shopping, and deliver their meals while technology let’s them remotely do their jobs, access healthcare, and connect socially. Future sports fans may want to avoid the exorbitant cost and infection risk of attending games in person and instead opt to experience the excitement of being there live by using advanced forms of virtual reality technology.
In the end, who wants to spend hours in traffic, hundreds of dollars for a ticket, and risk getting infected when they can watch a game at home with virtual reality letting them sit next to Jack Nicholson in a front row seat?
If you enjoyed this article and would like to share your ideas and comments with other intelligent Lakers fans, please join us on Lakerholics.Net.