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Coronavirus and Basketball

The coronavirus, or at least a specific strand known as COVID-19, has run amok throughout the world. The result has been university closings, public mandates barring large gatherings, or in the case of Italy, virtually a country-wide lockdown.

The sports world has also not been immune to the virus. The effect stateside has been the cancellation of the Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the decision of the Mid-American Conference to play its basketball tournament games in front of an empty arena in Cleveland, and the decision of the Golden State Warriors to also play without fans present.

While those affected have dealt with the impact of the coronavirus, the chatter on social media has only intensified. And with the help of Social Studio, we looked at a few specifics in how sports have been impacted.

In this search, multiple keywords were used, all in tandem with ‘coronavirus.’ Other key words examined were ‘warriors,’ ‘Golden State,’ ‘basketball,’ ‘ivy,’ and ‘ncaa.’ The last key word was used to examined any chatter with the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which are set to begin next week. There have been plenty of calls for the tournament to be cancelled, played in empty arenas, or dealt with in a way that increases public health safety.

These search terms yielded 47,154 posts in the past seven days, as of 2:25 pm ET on March 11. It might be surprising to see the sentiment at only 59.4 percent negative. But it’s important to keep in mind that some people are commending organizations for their response, in addition to posting negative comments about the virus, as well as disappointment over the cancellations and changes.

Social Studio also allows the ability to see more of what is being talked about, through its generation of a word cloud. That examination provides the following look at some of what is being posted.

It remains unclear how long these concerns will last or what impacts are yet to occur. With the NCAA Tournament set to get underway next week, the likelihood still exists that the games will be played in front of empty arenas. It remains largely unlikely that the tournament will be cancelled, simply for the money it generates, largely from its television contract.

According to the New York Times, the NCAA has a deal with CBS Sports and Turner for $770 million per year through 2024. That contract was extended through 2032 for just over $1 billion. The games could still be telecast next week in empty stands.

Still, as with the rest of the economy, sports will be effected by the coronavirus. And we’ll continue to monitor from our perch in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.