For the first time in most of our lives, we are witnessing a pandemic that has officially shut down sports organizations around the world. Now that we are a couple of months in and the Coronavirus seems to be slowing down, many fans are wanting to know when leagues/seasons will resume play.
This past weekend the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chief Butch Ramirez told media sources just how the PSC plans to reopen sports in the near future. Ramirez told the media that sports are expected to emerge last in the post-pandemic. Chief Ramirez went on to say that he has no problem putting sports off longer due to the packed crowds that extrapolate the spread of COVID-19. Chief Ramirez also noted that the crisis has no solution or vaccine and that the PSC cannot risk the safety of PH sports fans until it is safe.
The Philippines currently has 6.5k confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and 428 people have died. Metro Manila has been hit especially hard, with almost 4k of the confirmed cases stemming from the nation’s capital.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has stated that they hope to return to gameplay in some fashion by June or July at the latest. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the PBA’s return is hinged on several conditions. While the PBA is open to holding games without fans, Marcial is concerned about social distancing guidelines since each team and staff consists of 30-40 people. Commissioner Marcial also stated that the league will follow the direction of the National Government and that their only concern right now is for the welfare of the people.
When questioned about other sports leagues opening around the world, Ramirez told the media that he feels like opening up before in the Philippines before July would be premature. Ramirez said he would not advise opening sports activities if it endangers the health of fans or players.
Despite the lack of gameplay, betting on sports has shifted in the Philippines from traditional sports to eSports betting, simulation sports, and virtual sports. While some fans find the new methods lacking a bit of luster, other bettors have found that betting on virtual sports and sims is a lot like betting on Traditional sports.
Betting on esports and simulations is available via offshore sportsbooks like Bovada, BetOnline, MyBookie, etc. These sportsbooks are the only legal online sportsbooks allowed in the Philippines due to specific federal laws that forbid domestic services from offering betting lines online.