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Coronavirus Takes a Swing at Employment: Top Sports, Business News – May 7

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Here are the stories shaping sports and business on Thursday, May 7.

Let’s Go Over the NFL’s Schedule

The NFL is releasing their 2020 schedule tonight at 8:00 pm (est). The three hour long special will be broadcasted on both ESPN and NFL Network and has a star-studded cast of guests including Patriots coach Bill Belichick, reigning Super Bowl Champion Head Coach Andy Reid, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

NBC’s Al Michaels, CBS’s Jim Nantz, and Fox’s Joe Buck will also appear on the program.

There’s been a lot of speculation around the start of the NFL season due to concerns over the coronavirus. It’s still unclear if the NFL will allow fans to pack into their 70 to 100,000 seat stadiums. There’s reportedly also a very detailed contingency plan if any of the regular season games are postponed which includes a fall back option of playing through March and front-loading the regular season schedule with in-division games as they have the most impact for playoff seedings.

The NFL is scheduled to start the 2020 season on Thursday, September 10.

From Sports Illustrated: How Matt Patricia Built the Lions' Virtual Offseason

A Coronavirus Update

There are over 3.7 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with over 264,000 deaths.

In the U.S., there are over 1.2 million cases of the virus, with over 73,000 deaths.

New York has over 320,000 cases with over 20,000 deaths. Spain has over 220,000 cases and 25,000 deaths.

The April jobs report being released tomorrow, but jobless claims were released today. Claims totaled 3.16 million, which means that there’s a shocking 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shuttered the economy back in March.

There have been numerous people pointing out the disconnect between the market and the negative economic data we’re getting.

Brad McMillan, CIO of Commonwealth Financial Network, said, “The discrepancy between what the economy is saying and what the financial markets are doing is (to use the term again) unprecedented. The story of April and of May will be what that discrepancy means and how it resolves.”

TheStreet's Katherine Ross asked Jim Cramer, Ross and Enright's Bull Market Fantasy cohost, about this disconnect and he pointed out the Moderna Phase 2 vaccine trials, the optimism about the economy, etc., as buoys for this market.

And McMillan acknowledged, “While there is a real risk that irresponsible opening could set the stage for another explosion of cases, there is also a good chance that if people act responsibly, May could be the start of finding a new balance between medical and economic risk factors.”

From TheStreet: Jim Cramer Says May Will Be Bad Month for Markets

Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch and Call of Duty League’s Collaboration with Sportradar

Gamblers placing bets on the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League can now do so with peace of mind thanks to a new partnership between Activision and SportRadar. The two companies announced a multi-year partnership that will help with integrity of matches.

Gambling on esports has absolutely exploded since the coronavirus pandemic pushed the globe into quarantine. While Nevada casinos lost 96% in sports book revenue in March. Revenue generated from esports gambling is projected to double from 7 to 14 billion by the end of 2020.

And from an esports angle…Activision Blizzard is trading over $73 a share and is up over 50% in the past year.

“Our esports organization has quickly pivoted to remote production and continues to deliver live esports for both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League, a direct result of the hard work and flexibility of our team owners and our sponsors,” CEO Bobby Kotick said in the company’s earnings call, which took place on Tuesday, May 5.

And the future of esports, even during this pandemic, seems positive overall.

“I would say the future [of esports] is bright. While COVID certainly accelerated the adoption of gaming, this was a trend already in progress. Given that, while we may see some pullback post-COVID I think it’s an industry that is now making its mark and one that investors need to take seriously,” Zev Fima, an analyst with Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said about the esports sector.

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