Major League Baseball (MLB) and football’s Spanish LaLiga are among the sporting organisations coming up with innovative ways to plug the gap left by postponements amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today (Thursday) had been scheduled to be the opening day of MLB’s 2020 season but this has been pushed back by at least two weeks following the outbreak.
MLB will today present its ‘Opening Day at Home’ initiative, which will see a full slate of 30 classic games made available nationally on digital streaming and social media platforms. The event is designed to create a sense of community among fans while underscoring the importance of staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Fans have been encouraged to use the #OpeningDayAtHome hashtag to connect with each other while watching their team’s game at a select time. Games will be available across official MLB channels and on the winning club’s respective home page.
MLB and the MLB Players Association last week made a joint $1m (£832,000/€911,000) donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30m commitment from clubs to support ballpark employees affected by the suspended season. Fans will be able to support these initiatives and additional causes throughout the day.
MLB recently made all games from the past two seasons available for free on its MLB.TV streaming service.
Meanwhile, LaLiga has teamed up with Santander and Universal Music to launch the ‘LaLigaSantander Fest’, a charity festival that will seek to raise funds to acquire products that can combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The virtual ‘macro-concert’ will feature 20 artists as well as LaLiga players. The festival will air on Saturday at 6pm local time and will be broadcast around the world.
LaLiga’s official channels will stream the festival, which will also be available on the LaLigaSportsTV platform and on the Movistar LaLiga channel. Donations can be made through the Santander Foundation via various channels.
Alejandro Sanz, David Bisbal, Aitana, Sebastián Yatra and Antonio Orozco are among the artists scheduled to perform, with more singers to be revealed before Saturday.
Óscar Mayo, LaLiga’s director of business and international development, said: “From LaLiga, we wanted to support all those people who will face their third weekend of quarantine and, at the same time, raise funds to acquire medical supplies. We are very happy with the great response we have received from all fronts. Footballers, clubs, artists and sponsors have all joined us in this initiative. And I am convinced that together we are going to create something very big.”
The festival forms part of the ‘LaLiga se juega en casa’ (LaLiga played at home) initiative, which looks to support fans during their self-isolation periods while no football is being played. Last weekend, the league supported the #LaLigaSantanderChallenge FIFA 20 competition, which was contested by a number of professional players and won by Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio.
Elsewhere, the International Cricket Council has opened up its archive of match footage and programming to broadcast partners as part of plans to engage with fans who are staying at home. ICC events dating back to 1975, including the men’s and women’s World Cups, T20 World Cups and the Champions Trophy, have all been made available.
Cricket fans will also be able to take part in watch parties on the ICC’s Facebook page, where full match replays of classic fixtures will be streamed. Match highlights and tournament recaps will also be delivered through the ICC’s social channels, on the ICC’s website and through its mobile app.
In other news, the MotoGP motorcycling series has detailed plans for a virtual race to keep fans entertained during the break in live sport.
Some of the sport’s biggest names will compete on the official MotoGP video game from developer Milestone, with the initiative to launch on Sunday.
The track for the virtual race will be the Autodromo del Mugello in Italy, with racers to complete six laps of the track. The event will be broadcast on motogp.com, esport.motogp.com and selected TV broadcasters, as well as on social media platforms and YouTube.
Additionally, MotoGP has made all content, including races, interviews and documentaries, available to watch for free with a VideoPass trial that is valid until the season resumes.