Before COVID-19 descended on the world like a gray cloud, 2020 had plenty of sports action lined up for fans. However, the virus disrupted many leagues and tournaments, including two full months during which no live sport was played.
However, it was not all doom and gloom as sports began recovering and returning to some semblance of pre-pandemic normality as the year concluded. Here are some of 2020’s most-watched sports events:
Super Bowl LIV
The final game of the 2020 NFL season was played on February 2nd, 2020, with the Kansas City Chiefs facing the San Francisco 49ers in a packed Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Chiefs secured their first Super Bowl win since Super Bowl IV, with a 31-20 victory over their rivals. Sports betting app usage surged at the time, with the Super Bowl being America’s premier sporting event as its viewership of more than 40 million attests. The semi-finals that saw the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans eliminated also had viewership figures of over 40 million each, making football the most-watched sports event in 2020.
Daytona NASCAR Cup Series
More than seven million viewers enjoyed the two-day NASCAR spectacle in February 2020, before lockdown regulations went into effect. It was Daytona NASCAR’s 62nd event, contested over 209 laps. Persistent rain saw a race delay of more than 24 hours. An exciting final lap saw a serious accident for Ryan Newman, who suffered critical but not life-threatening injuries.
The Masters’ Golf Tournament’s final round was played on November 15th, 2020. Usually played in April, the golf championship was postponed in light of COVID-19. As always, it was played in Augusta, Georgia, and won by Dustin Johnson. He won by five strokes, ahead Im Sung-jae and Cameron Smith, with a score of 20-under-par. There were no spectators in attendance, although more than between six and seven million tuned in to watch it live on television.
MLB’s season ended on October 27th, 2020 as Game Six of the World Series between the Tampa Blue Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers concluded. The Dodgers walked away with four wins over the Rays’ two, making the LA-based team crowned 2020 champions. Streaming services for sports saw a surge in membership as the World Series games approached. World Series Game Six had the largest viewership of all six, with a total of 12.7 million fans watching.