NCAA Tournament Cancellation Blessed Us With a Chicken Wings Surplus

The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament was one of the many casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is always a silver lining. While we may be without sports during the COVID-19 outbreak, we can all be thankful that there is one positive to come from the cancellation of March Madness.

The blessing: an abundance of chicken wings.

Erik Oosterwijk, president of Fells Point Wholesale Meats in Baltimore, told the Washington Post that there is a surplus of chicken wings because the NCAA Tournament did not take place.

“Those are millions of pounds of wings that people don’t eat,” Oosterwijk told The Post. “And if [coronavirus] happened in January and February, it would have been the Super Bowl that got hit. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of food out there today.”

Sports bars are also being hit hard. During March Madness, places like Buffalo Wild Wings and Hooters would have been overflowing with customers. Because they know March is a busy time of year, product orders were placed. But now, the businesses are restricted to delivery only and they are going through their chicken wing supply at a much slower rate than imagined.

“The major wing chains that should be hot this time of year are closed,” animal protein economist at CoBank Will Sawyer said. “The food service side of things, they probably still have wings they bought weeks ago getting ready for March Madness and for people to come watch the games, but they’re not selling them.”

The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including The Masters, NCAA Tournament, Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons.

The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.

While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 16,600 deaths in the United States which surpasses and nearly triples the death toll of the September 11 terrorist in New York City — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.

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