Closed-door set up works if games are good says East Asia Super League boss

Paul Kennedy Lintag on May 22, 2020 04:17 PM
Closed-door set up works if games are good says EASL boss
"I think if the core product, if the game itself is really good, then you can make the production perhaps cooler in a different way with no audience," Beyer said. (Photo by Richard Esguerra)

Playing games with no audience present looks like one of the first key steps in having sports leagues resume in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That seems to be the safest compromise for now and while it still has its drawbacks, playing games with no live crowd can certainly work.

"I was listening to a podcast of Bill Simmons and he was talking about the difference between UFC and WWE and what does it look like with no audience? He was saying that the UFC was really cool because the core product and the fight was so real, you can hear things like the groaning and the hitting. It was much more live," East Asia Super League CEO Matt Beyer said.

"With the WWE, essentially just choreographed moves, he said it was terrible," the EASL boss added.

Beyer was with a webinar with Blackwater's Ariel Vanguardia for Hoops Coaches International, discussing how basketball can be after COVID-19.

[Related: The Terrific 12 can be first venue for PBA teams after COVID-19]

Playing with no live audience can and will work if the product presented is good and engaging. In the advent of social media, now is also a perfect time to take advantage of the technology.

After all, more and more fans are watching games from smaller screens anyway.

"I think if the core product, if the game itself is really good, then you can make the production perhaps cooler in a different way with no audience," Beyer said.

"It's just that you have to realize, you're playing for the fans in their homes on their devices and you're not playing for a live crowd, which I think for the players is going to be a different experience for sure," he added.

With no cure for COVID-19 yet, a new normal will have to be strictly implemented if sports are to come back.

Playing inside a controlled bubble might as well be the only way to have basketball come back at least for this year, and that will mean playing with no live crowd.

"I think that from the player experience, a big part is gonna be having players tested on a regular basis to be able to take part. And then it's going to be a regulation of the ecosystem around the players, who's in the arena, the people from the TV crew, etc.," Beyer said.

"The challenge will be as people interact before we have a vaccine, there's just so many question marks. So how do you keep a controlled environment with all the variables?" the EASL boss added.

 

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