Beyond the Buzzer

All or nothing


No matter what level they play at, athletes thrive on the roar of the crowd. But, those playing the sport aren’t the only people that rely on tickets being sold. 

Without fans rolling through the gates before gametime, high school athletic departments would not be able to fund high school sports year-round. Even though we see many professional leagues kicking off their season with no one in the stands, this would not be a viable option for high school sports. We either have to play with fans in attendance or disregard the fall sports season all together.

This year the IHSAA has decided to limit the number of fans for the season, requiring a max of 250 people per each set of stands. These sets must contain separate entrances and restrooms in order to allow 250 fans, according to the IndyStar. 

Professional leagues have the ability to play without fans because of the revenue they make from television contracts. High school sports would not receive the same large scale following if they attempted to live stream their seasons. Not only do they lose the money from ticket sales, but they also miss out on revenue from the concession stands, raffle tickets or any merchandise they may sell at sporting events.

A major bonus of high school sports is the fact that they provide funding for other activities within the school. This is not the case only at SHS, but at schools across the nation. Without fans, that funding would be nonexistent. 

On top of the debate about whether to play with fans or not, athletes are also making themselves more susceptible to the same issue that would keep fans away from the games: COVID-19.

According to the CDC, the highest risk of spreading COVID-19 while participating in sports is when there is full competition between two teams, showing that there are more concerns than just injuries when it comes to high school sports.

When looking at the increased chances of injury or sickness from playing sports this season, the only wayit would be worthwhile to risk playing fall sports is if fans are in attendance. This way, the athletic department would still be able to make money from sporting events. 

There are ways to ensure that fans are safe while watching sports in the stands, such as socially distancing seating options, requiring masks, limiting the areas fans may cross paths and keeping common areas clean and sanitized. 

If fans are restricted from games, it becomes nonsensical to continue fall sports this year. But if the athletic department can still find ways to bring in money for the school, then bring on fall sports.