For the past two months, professional sports, much like the rest of the world was put on pause. What used to be something that brought people together, has now gone away. Until this Sunday, when the first non-pay per view sporting event in America came back, with NASCAR making its return to the track at Darlington Raceway, in South Carolina. This marks professional sports back in America for the first time since early March. Now, everyone, including other American professional sports are watching NASCAR, and seeing if the return of all professional sports in America is sooner rather than later, how NASCAR can set the precedent for this return, and how professional sports are becoming an essential business.
1. All Eyes Are On NASCAR
As NASCAR returned to the track this weekend, all major sports leagues, MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, etc. were watching, seeing the procedures that NASCAR took to ensure the safety of drivers, officals, team members, and essential media personal at the track.
During his podcast, Sunday Money, NASCAR driver Corey LaJoie documented his story about how his day went, and how the procedures went once he got to the track, and what he did leading up to the start of Sunday's The Real Heroes 400.
The intense media coverage may not just be because sports are back in America, its also to see what sports are like without fans in attendance, which is the plan for NASCAR for the foreseeable future.
Many media outlets, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and others documented the return of NASCAR as it marked the return of professional sports in America for the first time in a shade over two months.
2. NASCAR Can and Should Set The Precedent For Return of Live Sports
Motorsports, maybe along with golf, are the only sports where the athletes are social distancing and can still compete in their respective sport.
NASCAR mandated that teams wear masks while inside the track, and any team member, driver, official, or essential media member caught not following CDC social distancing guidelines could receive a fine upwards of $50,000.
While other contact sports will have a much harder time maintaining these social distancing guidelines, they can follow the steps that NASCAR has laid out in the moments leading up to the event, and following the event.
NASCAR president, Steve Phelps, said that he has been in contact with commissioners of other major American sports leagues about what NASCAR is doing, and how each respective sport can use similar principles to help bring their sports back to live action.
3. It Is Clear, Professional Sports Are An Essential Business
Sorry Karen, but when 40 "hicks" drive cars in circles for 3 plus hours, and about 6.5 million people turn on their TV to watch it, then image the ratings when the 4 major professional American sports return to live action.
Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, said he wants live professional sports back in the state of Florida. He'll get his wish, as NASCAR returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 19th-21st.
Texas governor, Greg Abbott, said he wants professional sports back in Texas, and the Indycar Series will return to open their 2020 season on June 6th, other states, most notably, California, have made it clear that they want live professional sports back.
It's clear following mostly positive reception that NASCAR got when it made it's return, other states, and sports leagues saw that it is possibly for sports to come back, and to maintain social distancing guideline to the best of their abilities.