Coronavirus media impact update: WonderCon postponed, all major North American sports cancelled

NBA basketball game

Last updated on December 10th, 2021

The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) situation both where I live and nationally continues at a disruptive pace. To prevent its spread, there’s been multiple closings and cancellations in various categories.

For just Seattle:

  • All King County public schools are closed until April 24.
  • I’ve written last week about Emerald City Comic Con shutting down.
  • The Seattle Public Library is closed from March 13 until April 13 (a whole month), though users can still access digital media (such as Hoopla and Libby).
  • All public events, religious services, sporting events, etc. with more than 250 people are banned in King County until at least the end of March.

No sports for awhile

ESPN Sportscenter
Photo by Rob Poetsch [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

All of the ongoing major North American sports leagues are calling it quits for the time being:

  • The NBA (kicking off the wave of sports cancellations) has cancelled the season for at least 30 days. It’s unclear what this means for the upcoming playoffs (originally scheduled for mid-April).
  • Major League Baseball has cancelled all spring training games, and is considering pushing back the start of the regular season.
  • The NHL has suspended the current hockey season until further notice. It’s unclear what this means for the Stanley Cup playoffs (originally scheduled to start mid-April). So far, the Stanley Cup’s not been awarded twice: once during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919, and the other during the 2004-2005 season-long lockout.
  • Major League Soccer’s also called off the season.
  • Finally, there’s no March Madness, as the NCAA has cancelled this year’s college basketball tournament.

That takes care of pretty much all the major ongoing sports. Besides the millions of dollars in lost business (from TV advertising revenue to concessions workers at games), it also spells big trouble for ESPN, as they now have pretty much nothing to broadcast. Scrolling through my ESPN+ app, the programming offered is mostly clips of UFC fights, SportsCenter, and a few documentaries.

Given this, I have to wonder if ESPN+ will see any cancellations (at least temporarily), given there’s currently little point to the service.

Comic cons cancellations continue

The comic world’s also continuing to be affected. As of Thursday, WonderCon in Anaheim, California’s been postponed. Ditto Ace Comic Con Northeast, a newer show that was set to take place in Boston. Comics Beat notes Toronto’s Comic Arts Festival and Vancouver’s Comic Arts Festival, both scheduled for May, are set to continue for now.

Broadband improvements

Engadget reports that AT&T and Comcast are working to make at-home broadband internet better for users forced to work from home. Comcast’s approach is to boost speeds for its lowest level plan. AT&T, meanwhile, is temporarily suspending data caps for users. As some online have noted, this just points to data caps mainly being an arbitrary and needless cash grab for broadband companies.

Finally, people are advised to continue to listen to advice from the CDC, WHO, and local health authorities, and practice basic hygiene (wash hands frequently, etc.).

Photo by Eric Molina (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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