Dal offering strange COVID-19 fan experience

New viewing technology alienates players and fans

Editor’s Note: This is a satirical article.

Winter sports at Dalhousie University may look a little different this coming season with continuing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

The way indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball are watched live will be changing. While games will still be played at Dal’s facilities, spectators will be seated in state-of-the-art “sport pods,” which will replace the current bleachers.

These pods are fully sealed modular cubicles, each equipped with a screen showing the game.

Moe Ronic, Dal’s athletic advisor, claimed Dal pods offer 99.8 per cent protection against COVID-19 with only a small decrease in viewing quality.

“I genuinely believe this is the best solution,” Ronic said of the decision. “We initially looked into having the players maintain social distancing too. That just led to some pretty boring but high-scoring basketball games.”

The university’s adoption of the new sport pod technology has drawn controversy in several ways. Some have questioned whether the spectator experience will suffer due to the audience being unable to physically see the players outside of the single 12-inch LCD monitor.

When asked to comment, Ronic stated “I really don’t see the problem here. You’ll still be in the room with the players and the video stream has almost no delay. I can’t really figure out what else you could ask for.”

Will we ever see fans attend sports games like this again? Only time, and the success of sports pods, will tell. (Photo by Aleksandr Osipov)

A pricey solution

Many students have also raised concerns over the cost of the pods; each one sports a price tag of $5,600. With tuition already elevated, concerns have been raised as to whether the investment into sport pods is worth it.

Alexander “Money Man” Anderson, head of the Dalhousie’s Rowe School of Business, questioned whether the purchase was worth the investment.

“The maximum number of pods that can be installed is 250. I can’t help questioning whether this justifies the proposed 160 per cent increase in tuition required to fund the project,” he said.

When asked to comment on the steep price, Ronic argued the future benefits outweigh the upfront cost.

“The sport pods are entirely self-cleaning, which will save massive amounts of labour that would otherwise be required for sanitizing. Long-term, we are saving money,” he said.

When asked to comment on exactly how long “long-term” was, Ronic said “um, well, lets see. I’d say 36 years, conservatively.”

The business faculty are not the only critics of the sport pod proposal. Many sport teams are also opposed to the move with some players threatening to boycott the upcoming season.

“It’s just kind of creepy,” Poppy Culture of the women’s basketball team said. She believes the pods create an uncomfortable, unnatural environment for the players.

“Being surrounded by all those cubicles is unnerving, it’s like 1984, or maybe more 2001: A Space Odyssey. No, perhaps, Robot is a better example.”

With criticism coming in from all sides, the future of sport pods at Dal hangs in the air. Will this technology become the future of university athletics? Honestly, no, probably not.

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James Innes

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