From stadium authorities to youth sports complexes, from rec centers to global TV networks such as ESPN, the scale of devastation is only now coming into view. Some organizations, especially at the lower levels of sports, say they’ll be lucky to survive. The pain is especially acute among the army of low-wage service workers who support pro and college sports and are now unemployed. The losses are draining tax revenue that helps support local services such as police and firefighters and contributes to the quality of everyday life in thousands of communities.
“As an economist, you stand back, you look at the carnage that’s taking place — dumbfounded, awestruck, mind-numbing,” said Patrick Rishe, who directs the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis. “All of those phrases, they’re all relevant because we just have never seen anything on this scale.”