The following is a transcript of an investigative report on Full Measure News. Click on the link at the end of the transcript to watch the video story.
After a dry spell caused by the coronavirus response, sports are back sort of. Stadiums are far from filled and sports bars aren't getting the numbers they normally do. Scott Thuman heads to the field to look at the unusual return of sports.
Game audio: “Mayfield, a little stumble, toss, back of the endzone, wide open.” Touchdown.”
Scott Thuman: In Cleveland, Browns football fans welcomed the NFL back from a sports bar, not the bleachers.
In Washington, Capitols hockey fans, fewer in number and visibly frustrated with it all.
And in Chicago, this summer, sports fans in Humboldt Park stayed in the game by watching European soccer. And, well...
Manager Margarita Amaro: I've seen one girl brought out her knitting basket. She's like, I can't be at home anymore. I've got to get out.
Scott: But not where they want: The ticket windows at the United Center, where the NBA’s Bulls and NHL’s Blackhawks play...deserted.
Evan as sports come trickling back, fans who usually would be arguing over whose team is better, instead are having to debate when it is that they’ll truly feel safe enough to fill the stands again here at places like Chicago’s Wrigley Field and stadiums all across the country.
Cathy Dunlap: When you don’t have live sports, you’re just missing what your whole rhythm of your life is, what your life has been like since you were a kid.
Dunlap: Here’s a picture of me with Billy Pierce, legendary player.
Scott: Cathy Dunlap lives for baseball, not Cubs ball though; She is a devoted Chicago White Sox fan.
Alright Kathy, how are you doing these days?
Dunlap: Life without live sports. It's just not Chicago. Summer is all about baseball. Seasons are all about sports. I'm a football fan, I tailgate with my friends. I tailgate at Lacrosse for my university. People like going to see things live. They like experiencing it live. They like congregating together.
Scott: And when they do, fewer high fives, more 6 feet spreads.
Amaro: Now they still come out. They watch games. We have to wear a face mask. But now we have to shout out how we feel.
Scott: Mike Brand owns the DC’s Penn Quarter Tavern, just a few blocks from the arena. They’d normally be packed.
Mike Brand: We're not doing any business. We're losing money every single day. I didn't reenter this thinking that we're going to be profitable. I kind of reentered this thinking that I needed to take care of my people. And that's why we reopened. So until from now, until next spring, I intend we're going to be losing money, you know, nonstop every day. But you know, come next spring, we'll be profitable again.
Scott: DC sports talk host Rick Walker says that depends on the fans.
Rick Walker: They're frustrated. They also... it's new for them. It'll make them hungrier.
Scott: The resurgence of sports is also heavily reliant on the players themselves, argues Walker, who also was a Super bowl winning tight end with the Washington Football team. And while living and playing in a restricted so-called bubble has kept most athletes virus-free, reports allege a few baseball players had a hard time breaking old habits.
Walker: The bubble in the NBA. The bubble at the NHL, did a great job. Baseball with exception of two teams. They had no discipline. They couldn't avoid the strip club. If they had have eliminated the strip clubs, we'd be perfect record.
Sharyl (on camera); TV ratings since sports returned have been disappointing. The NBA and NHL playoffs are down. Football and baseball also had a slow start, but the leagues are hoping the fans watch more as the seasons continue.