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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic struck and sports were shuttered, hundreds of venues suddenly became sleeping giants.

Why it matters: Some have since been repurposed, and it's fascinating to watch America's sports cathedrals — often among the largest and most prominent structures in their respective cities — take on new roles.

  • Some of those changes are temporary, but others could fundamentally change how communities view and use sports venues.

What they're saying: Sports architect Matt Rossetti touched on that last point in an interview with The Athletic:

"What I think and what I hope is [sports venues] will become more wedded to the fabric of cities, so they're no longer standalone facilities that light up only when there are events. ... There should be civic uses ... so they become more part of a community rather than a folly for billionaires."
Screenshot: @PawSox/Twitter

Temporary uses:

Permanent changes?

  • Voting sites: The Hawks, Pistons and Bucks have all offered their arenas as voting locations for the 2020 election. The idea is that large groups could pass through while staying six feet apart, but perhaps these massive, centrally-located venues will continue to be used for voting post-social distancing.
  • Movie nights: Miami's Hard Rock Stadium has transformed into a drive-in movie theater, which has reemerged as a popular form of entertainment during the pandemic. There's no reason teams couldn't set up regular movie nights post-COVID.

The bottom line: Multiple stadiums across the country have turned some very sour lemons into lemonade during the pandemic, repurposing themselves and serving their communities, even as sporting events and concerts are on hold.

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League (NFL) on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.

Parents in Michigan, Virginia sue AG over action on school board threats

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during an October news conference in Mexico City. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A group of parents in Michigan and Virginia accused Attorney General Merrick Garland in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of trying to "criminalize" free speech by directing law enforcement to review threats against school staff.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, filed by the conservative American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the parents in two school districts, accuses Garland of seeking to suppress free speech in his memorandum directing federal authorities to counter the threats spike.

Reading the fundraising tea leaves in Virginia

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin speak during a debate last month. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrat Terry McAuliffe may be trouncing Glenn Youngkin in fundraising, but when it comes to dollars from donors in Virginia — the state where they're battling to become governor — the Republican has the edge.

Why it matters: With tight polls between the two gubernatorial candidates less than two weeks before Election Day, the parties are also looking to fundraising as a predictor of success.