Not too long ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believed stands would be full for the upcoming NFL season. Now, he might be changing his tune. The NFL has joined NASCAR, studios, and entertainment groups calling for pandemic risk insurance from congress.
The Next Relief Package
The sports leagues and studios want to be taken care of in the next relief package coming up. The NFL, NASCAR, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, the PGA, and others drafted a letter to the Senate Majority Leader and the House Speaker, calling for help. They should have their answer within the next week or two.
Here’s an excerpt of the two page document (founded by Deadline):
Whether it be professional and collegiate sporting events, the next must-see film, a binge worthy TV series, or a marquee Broadway production, we cannot envision any long-term recovery of these American experiences without some form of business interruption insurance that mitigates the risks associated with producing these popular events and programs in the COVID era now facing the country.
In short, the ability of American businesses like ours to secure pandemic risk insurance will be a key factor to America’s economic recovery. We stand ready to work with all parties on both sides of the Capitol to ensure the U.S. economy can re-start effectively and is prepared for future pandemic-related disruptions.
Republicans Aren’t For It
Apparently, not everyone on Capitol Hill is on board with the idea. There’s resistance from a lot of Republicans, and many of them already don’t want to extend unemployment benefits. They believe it’s an incentive “not to work,” which is bananas given the coronavirus surge. For some Republican representatives, there are more important matters than sports and entertainment, though.
What Sports Leagues Really Want
A second wave is expected to happen in the fall, which is exactly when the NFL season and the MLB is in the thick of it. What if a season has to stop midway through? It’s not outside the realm of possibility. The NFL wants insurance in the worst-case scenario, and they’re asking Congress for it. What’s crazy is, the NFL still expects fans in their stadiums starting September 10th. Right now, to take precautions, the league is considering having fans sign waivers before entertaining stadiums. Is going to a football game worth getting sick or others sick? The NFL might think so, based on their desire to have fans in seats. Not the first time the league has had questionable ideas…
The Latest on the NFL
Earlier today, the NFL decided to cut their pre-season in half. It’s now only two weeks long instead of four. If the NFL does return, what about players who decide against playing? It’s already happened in the MLB with players refusing to quarantine for 90 days and be away from their family and risk their health.
Some critics and health officials doubt an NFL season will happen. Unlike baseball and NASCAR, social distancing in football is impossible. Goodell has been very presumptuous about the upcoming season, telling journalists recently “get ready for games at our stadiums and to engage our fans both in stadiums and through our media partners.”
Training camp begins on July 28th. Players have already tested positive for coronavirus. Critics have called the league “non-essential” right now. Even the United State’s top health advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Congress it’s “very hard to see how football is played” this year. Unlike the NFL, the MLB, the NHL, and the NBA do not want fans attending their future games. Limited attendance is a possibility down the line, but right now, there’s mounting doubt the NFL will return as they imagine.