Every athlete dreams of the moment when the game is on the line, the focus is singular, the tension is building, and the fans are going crazy. As businesses and services are beginning to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown, large gatherings are still prohibited in most areas. The prohibition of large crowds means that professional sports, or at least professional sports as we’re used to seeing them, will have a longer path to return.
Fortunately, most major pro leagues are planning a comeback of some kind. Unfortunately, people may not be able to see them in person for a while, maybe not until a vaccine is widely distributed. Here are examples of when some major pro sports are planning to return, and what fans can expect to see from them.
The National Football League’s season is still scheduled to begin on time, starting Sept. 10. Still, there is no official word yet on whether fans will be able to attend games. Players are currently training remotely, with team training camps set to open in late July. So far, most of the focus for college sports has been on whether college football will be able to hold its season.
Latest Sports Updates
The latest update, reported by ESPN on Jun. 8, is that universities are planning for the season to begin on time. Coaches will begin to work with players as early as Jul. 6. Meetings and walk-throughs will start in mid-July if the NCAA approves the current plan.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association are currently stuck in negotiations. The latest proposal from the MLBPA asks for an 89-game season with full prorated pay, and the player’s full season salary, but decreased based on the shortened playing time and expanded playoffs. The proposed season would start Jul. 10 and end Oct. 11. However, this proposed season is likely to be rejected. The MLB’s current proposal is a 76-game season and they would pay players 5% of their prorated salaries.
The National Basketball Association has agreed to return in late July with a 22-team format. Each team will play 8 regular-season games to determine seeding before moving into the playoffs. The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World without fans in attendance. Several NBA players have expressed concerns about playing the season in Orlando, citing family situations, the coronavirus pandemic, and the inability to leave the Disney World Resort campus.
As the coronavirus lockdown is being lifted slowly across the United States, the prohibition of large gatherings will continue to affect major league sports. Even as sports are planning to restart or begin the seasons, it will likely be done without any fans in attendance.