Coronavirus update: The bottom falls out

Get used to this sight, everybody.

Everything is canceled.

You won’t find anyone in empty arenas or stadiums for the foreseeable future – and now that includes the players themselves.

The bottom fell out of the sports and entertainment industry Thursday as leagues suspended or canceled events. The NBA, NHL, XFL, AHL, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer have suspended their seasons until further notice. The IHSA and NCAA went a step further and canceled their tournaments and spring seasons.

The cancellations are going to sting for the major television and regional sports networks as they stand to lose tons of revenue due to canceled and/or postponed games – an estimated $2 billion alone, and possibly more.

The news is a huge blow to Marquee Sports Network, who launched their network officially on February 22, and now has no live Cubs baseball to air as MLB has delayed opening day for the next few weeks. It also is a blow for ESPN, NBC SN, NBC Sports Chicago, and FS1, who are now without live sporting events.

Meanwhile, several New York-based television shows – who each announced they were going without audiences, have now suspended production indefinitely. Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers, and Jimmy Fallon are now not taping at all, as is Wendy Williams and Los Angeles-based Kelly Clarkson and Ellen – meaning all of those shows will be reruns until further notice.

Production has halted on other shows, including Fox’s Next (where a coronavirus patient was tested positive earlier in the week), Apple TV’s The Morning Show, and forced CBS’ New York facilities to evacuate.

All upfront presentations for this May have been canceled, signaling this epidemic could last well beyond spring. Pulling out were ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Disney, and WarnerMedia, among others.

Closer to home, Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker announced a ban of gatherings of over 1,000 people statewide until May 1 on Thursday, following the lead of other states such as New York, California, and Washington and suggested no gatherings with more than 250 people not take place. This has lead to canceled concerts, events, and other gatherings as schools in Illinois are closed for two weeks. Meanwhile, Live Nation has also reportedly suspended all concert tours for the time being.

As of this writing (March 15), Illinois has 66 reported coronavirus cases.

And amid this backdrop, the U.S. Stock Market is taking a beating with Thursday’s session hosting the biggest one-day drop since the 1987 stock market crash. This could mean a recession is in the cards, which could possibly derail the fervent merger and acquisition activity in the television business, including the $8.5 billion bidding war over broadcast station group Tegna, owner of ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas and CBS affiliate WUSA in Washington, D.C.

Even with entertainment and sports grinding to a halt, T Dog Media is still open for business – but for frequent updates as the number of closings and suspensions are becoming too many to list here, please follow the blog on Twitter @tdogmedia.

This post was updated on March 15.

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