John Oliver on the ripple effects of no sports and if they can return anytime soon

TOPSHOT - Life-size cutouts at a Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) game (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) / TO GO WITH Baseball-TPE-health-virus-Taiwan,FOCUS by Amber Wang and Rob Wollard (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Life-size cutouts at a Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) game (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) / TO GO WITH Baseball-TPE-health-virus-Taiwan,FOCUS by Amber Wang and Rob Wollard (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images) /

In Last Week Tonight’s latest segment on the novel coronavirus, John Oliver looked at the impact on sports.

The absence of sports has been one of the most noticeable effects during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Who wins the Stanley Cup or the NBA championship is insignificant in the grand scheme of things but there are still a number of things dependent on these leagues operating. John Oliver explained in the latest Last Week Tonight on COVID-19.

Oliver has covered the pandemic story from every possible angle over multiple episodes so far in season seven. The response by the Trump administration, media coverage, and testing availability are some of the issues Last Week Tonight has discussed in its signature style.

The economic effects of the pandemic have been the biggest story after public health and medical care. The state of the economy will be directly tied to President Donald Trump’s reelection chances. Economic pressure is also behind the push to “reopen” the country as soon as possible. Then there is the emotional toll the pandemic has had on the public psyche. Social distancing has forced people apart and shared experiences are practically nonexistent.

Sports are a prime example of how these two factors come together. The economic impact of professional sports is undeniable as is the emotional connection millions of people worldwide have with everything from baseball to marble racing. John Oliver took an in-depth look at this and how realistic is the return of sports:

Last Week Tonight reminds the audience that there are countless employees at stadiums and arenas who are without a job while sports are suspended. And while some teams did right by their staff at the beginning, that hasn’t been able to cover everything.

Late night hosts like John Oliver are well aware of the challenges associated with working from home. But reciting monologues and interviewing celebrities is a little easier to pull off at home than training for a marathon or rock climbing. Still, late night television has faired better than ESPN when it comes to airing new content as Oliver points out that e-sports and Russian face-slapping contests have replaced live sporting events.

The demand for sports to return is strong from most players, fans, owners, and employees. The problem is figuring out a way to do it safely and not generate unnecessary risk for those involved. Oliver highlights attempts by the WWE and UFC to hold events but have failed to do so without incident.

Oliver also offers an explanation of why leagues can’t just operate in a bubble. He cites a report suggesting that Major League Baseball would need an estimated 10,000 people to be isolated, monitored, and tested in order to play out the season in a centralized location.

The segment wraps up with Oliver delivering something of a warning. The premature return of sports could have a catastrophic effect, making them more of a cautionary tale than the inspiration they usually provide. It is another example of Last Week Tonight providing a public service announcement on top of entertainment. The show’s segments on the need for cohesive messaging and the danger of OAN are two other recent examples.

So while the world waits for sports to figure out how to safely return, fans are looking for alternatives. Thanks to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the 2020 Jelle’s Marble Run season will go on as scheduled.

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What did you think of this Last Week Tonight segment? Will you be watching the Marble League now that John Oliver is a sponsor? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.