As has much of the world, the sports calendar has taken a beating like it has never known before because of the current global pandemic sweeping across the planet. Sports, naturally, was always going to be one of the very first things to be abandoned, or put on hold, as governments and health officials look to curtail the spread of the virus and protect the population as much as possible.
Although the virus is still prevalent in certain states, restrictions are starting to ease up and sports are starting to re-emerge on the calendar, providing fans with all the action that they have missed since March. Whilst the live action on certain sports fields or at certain venues will be a welcomed positive, the fact that bettors can also get back in the action will also be welcomed. Bettors can find that there will be a number of sportsbooks offering a bitcoin bonus in the USA now the resumption of sports is on the cards.
So, when can fans expect to see the major sports return to their screens and start to provide them with a much-needed sense of normality?
The Major League Baseball season has been penciled in to start on July 23 – having been in training camps since the beginning of the month – with a 60-game schedule expected to be completed. Two matches are expected to take place on the opening date, with teams expected to play at their home venues as they would in normal circumstances.
The National Basketball Association approved plans to resume the season in July, with 22 teams playing and living at the Disney sports complex near Orlando, Florida. Games are scheduled to begin July 30 and will carry on until October, whereby fans are not permitted to be in attendance.
The National Football League may have already cancelled the Hall of Fame Game and the entirety of pre-season (which may actually have fans delighted), however the regular season is still scheduled to take place in its usual early September slot. The draft took place as normal (remotely), whilst team facilities opened up in line with the states that they are in, although players have not yet returned.
The National Hockey League are just as keen as everyone else to get things going, and plans have already been put in place to get the league started at the beginning of August. With formal training camps beginning on July 13, teams will travel to hub cities (Edmonton and Toronto) on July 26, and the qualifying round would start Aug. 1, reportedly with three games a day in each hub.
The MLS has already resumed, with the MLS is Back Tournament currently taking place. However, there have already been a number of sides to have had to pull out because of viral fears, with Nashville FC and FC Dallas having had positive tests amongst players and staff. The National Women’s Soccer League also relaunched their Challenge Cup tournament on June 27 near Salt Lake City, however Orlando Pride had to pull out because of an outbreak.
As with the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association will see teams compete in Bradenton, Florida, in one complex as they will complete training camps and matches there, whilst also taking up accommodation for the duration of the schedule. A 22-game season is scheduled to start in late July.
NASCAR was the first sport in the US to return to action when it began on May 17 without spectators. However, the race at Talladega (Ala.), saw up to 5,000 spectators allowed in following guidelines set out in place.
IndyCar also followed suit with its first race on June 6, however there were no fans in attendance, whilst the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to allow half capacity on Aug 23.
Formula 1 has returned, although all their races remain in Europe at the moment, with eight having been scheduled to take place from the first week of July. Austria will host two races, as will Britain, whilst Hungary, Spain, Belgium, and Italy will each host one. All these races are unavailable for fans to attend.
Golf’s PGA Tour returned in early June, however it was done so without fans in attendance. A number of major tournaments remain cancelled, whilst the PGA Championship is set for Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco; the U.S. Open for Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.; and the Masters for Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National. The Ryder Cup, slated Whistling Straits in September, has been moved to 2021.
Some Tennis matches and tournaments have already returned where restrictions have allowed them to do so, however the main calendar still remains empty until August. Grand Slams such as the U.S. Open (Aug to Sept) and the French Open (Sept to Oct) are still scheduled to take place, as is the Australian Open in January 2021, however this year’s Wimbledon has been canceled.