Can sports fans return to the stands in 2021?

Leones fans enjoy a baseball game in the Parque Kukulcán in 2019. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht.
Leones fans enjoy a baseball game in the Parque Kukulcán in 2019. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht.

Despite encouraging news, the future of sports in Yucatán remains uncertain. 

Several leagues are moving forward with plans for a 2021 comeback, but it remains unclear if local, state and federal authorities will allow it. 

The Leones de Yucatán — Yucatán’s pro-baseball team — has scheduled a tentative return to the Kukulkán stadium on May 21. Team managers remain optimistic and have stated their intention to defend their southern division championship title.

Yucatán’s pro soccer team, Venados de Yucatán, have already begun playing pre-season and training matches at the Carlos Iturralde stadium. In a press conference, team leadership expressed confidence in the medical staff’s ability to adequately protect and test players for the coronavirus.

Fights sanctioned by Mexico’s Boxing Federation have been broadcast from several points around the country, however it remains unclear when spectators will be allowed to return in normal numbers.  

Spectators are still waiting to hear when races such as the Mérida’s city marathon will return. Some races, such as Grupo Megamedia’s half-marathon, have opted for a “virtual” modality in which competitors run independently near their homes and upload their distance and times to an online platform. 

Amateur teams such as those belonging to Merida’s municipal women’s softball league have been unable to play any games since March.

“Sport is so important for our communities, it is a huge part of who we are,” said Renegadas outfielder Yesica Benitez.

On social media, Merida’s sports fans have questioned the logic behind allowing shopping malls and movie theaters to reopen while municipal outdoor sports facilities such as the Estadio Salvador Alvarado remain closed to the public. 

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.