But normal times are not imminent.
Pfizer’s announcement that it has reached a major benchmark in the testing of its COVID-19 vaccine is certainly good news but if anyone thinks that United States-based sports leagues are ready to open the doors and return to normal, that would be a stretch. It is going to take a long time to get back to pre-pandemic life. The vaccine will not produce a packed Super Bowl in Tampa in February although the NFL 2021 season could see some semblance of normalcy by the end of 2021. Neither the National Basketball Association nor the National Hockey League will have a full season in 2020-2021 although things might improve for the 2021-2022 season. Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer will have COVID-19 impacted seasons in 2021. The vaccine, if efficient, will be part of the tool box that includes mask wearing and social distancing. The NBA wants to get people into luxury boxes in 2020-2021 when it starts up on December 22nd. There is no date to start the National Hockey League season. College sports will continue to struggle to get a full schedule played for the next year although the NCAA will try to get college football bowl games and March Madness off the ground. Golf and tennis fall into that category too.
Globally, sports organizations need to get a vaccine approved as soon as possible so that events can have customers in the venues. But the only people who figure to get the first vaccines who are connected to the sports industry will be medical staffs. There is still a long way to go before Pfizer actually gets its vaccine to the marketplace and the virus is not contained in the United States, Canada or Europe. Still the Pfizer news is encouraging but sports is not returning to normal yet.