Sports broadcasters and coronavirus: Inside the gloomy impact

The soothing voice booming through Madison Square Garden belonged to Mike Watts. The 27-year-old broadcaster and public address announcer delivered the bad news to a small crowd during halftime of the Big East tournament quarterfinal between St. John’s and Creighton: the game would not resume. The nation’s last live major sporting event was canceled.

In a way, Watts’s voice brought to an end major American sports, the curtain call on action before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a three-month shutdown. Fortuitously, Watts will be there when the curtain rises. He’s scheduled to handle the international play-by-play broadcast when the Portland Thorns play the North Carolina Courage on Saturday to begin the National Women’s Soccer League’s truncated season—a month-long tournament in Utah. The match marks the first major American team competition since the mid-game cancellation of that Big East game on March 12.

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