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From Junior Varsity To The Pros, How A Nation Plays Sports Amid The Pandemic

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

For many Americans, the first time we understood the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic was when the NBA indefinitely suspended its season in March.


Since then, navigating how to play and watch sports and operate the industry around the games has been an unprecedented challenge on both a national and local level.

An ESPN analysis in May projected a $12 billion loss for the sports industry nationwide. UNC Charlotte’s athletic department was forced to reduce its budget by about $3 million.

Data shows there is also a toll on children’s mental and physical health, as kids were half as active in September compared to pre-COVID-19 numbers, and that 29% of children say they are no longer interested in playing sports, even after the pandemic is over.

While the NBA finally concluded its season in a “bubble” and there is evidence sports as a whole are slowly beginning a return to normalcy, we sit down with local and national experts to understand who are the winners and losers when it comes to playing sports during a pandemic.


Ben Strauss, sports and media reporter for The Washington Post

Langston Wertz, sportswriter for The Charlotte Observer and contributor to WFAE’s ongoing series, “Time Out For Sports”

Mike Hill, athletic director for UNC Charlotte

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.