North America’s top leagues were battling an outbreak of COVID-19, and fans were bracing for a holiday season of disruption. Positive tests have spiked in the National Football League, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association over the last three days, forcing players into COVID-19 protocols and game postponements. From college football Bowl games to the NBA’s Christmas Day showcase, the holiday season in the United States and Canada is usually filled with sports action.
Although there is no indication that any holiday action will be cancelled, due to the coronavirus spreading across locker rooms, fans may not be able to watch all of their favourite players.
Tickets to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, as well as the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, may not be allowed to be used as Christmas gifts in Canada. As part of new restrictions to combat the fast-spreading Omicron variant, the federal and provincial governments of Canada and Ontario announced a 50% cut in arena capacity.
Despite nearly 100 players entering COVID protocol this week, the NFL has not postponed any games and has no plans to decrease stadium capacity. “No discussion of it,” the NFL said, “With a few exceptions, athletes do not interact with fans on game day anyway.”
The virus has also impacted on college sports, with the men’s basketball team at Tulane University in New Orleans being temporarily shut down due to a high number of positive COVID-19 cases.