The Rush to Return to Live Sports Events: A Political-Economic Analysis of Sports Entertainment in the Time of COVID-19

Jennifer M Proffitt, Nivia Escobar Salazar, Juliann Cortese, Patrick F. Merle


This article employs a political economy approach to examine the interests of the major players involved in decisions to reopen US-based sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. They include owners, politicians, and media outlets involved in full-contact combat sports entertainment, specifically Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Wrestling Entertainment. Though the push to resume sports was often attributed to the fans who were “starving” for content and athletes who wanted to fight or wrestle, these decisions were, and are, closely linked to the political-economic interests of the individual politicians, sports owners, and media corporations. The symbiotic relations among them also require examination.

Full Text: