Sports may return soon, just without crowds

nissan stadium
Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 21:22:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a reporter that sports may be able to return to TV soon, but the stadiums will have to stay empty.

While that effort may help limit the spread of COVID-19, it also makes the comeback for downtown Nashville businesses that much harder.

"I think everything I learned about sports is preparing me for this moment," said Tom Morales, the owner of Acme Feed and Seed and other downtown businesses.

One of the best comebacks in NFL history happened inside Nissan Stadium, yet for Morales, the thought of his business getting back to normal anytime soon would be its own Music City Miracle.

"I’m holding out hope for science," he said.

Morales says its those Nashville Predators, Nashville Sounds and Tennessee Titans home games that really drive foot traffic to his business. Acme has been shut down since mid-March, when Nashville Mayor John Cooper ordered businesses on Broadway to close because of social distancing concerns.

He said his company's small business loan has been approved, so that can help him with things like payroll and rent, but the loan only lasts for eight weeks. Beyond that, he's not sure what they'll do.

Morales also believes, whether crowds are allowed at the games or not, many people may decide to stay home regardless.

"I think we’ll find out that if we do that without the science telling us to, we’ll be right back in the same situation," Morales said.

So he is doing what any good coach would do.

"Study the offense and study the defense so when we come out of this, we know what the world is going to look like," he said.

His team is looking at ways to rearrange almost every aspect of how they operate.

"We have to adjust to whatever edicts come down and basically its the government that will tell us how to operate," Morales said.

Because if Kevin Dyson's dash into the history books can teach us anything, it's that a well designed play, executed perfectly, can lead to a miracle.

"I would rather do it right and have a real plan rather than go on an urge to get back to normal because that could set us back another four to five months," he said.