It is hard to say what the world of sports will look like when the coronavirus is in the rear view mirror. Heck, it is hard to say what it will look like in the next couple of months. Regardless of the situation, there is no denying that the pandemic has already made a major impact with major repercussions. Leagues and foundations from all around the world just weren’t prepared for what hit and they didn’t know how to respond. It seemed like the only reasonable thing to do was suspend seasons and cancel the play, and that’s exactly what happened.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed and rescheduled for July 23rd to Aug. 8th. Wimbledon was canceled along with the Little League World Series. All the major North American leagues, including the MLB, the NBA, the MLS, and NHL have suspended the playing of games as the virus continues to spread and take lives across the world. Many other events like March Madness and the British Open were postponed or delayed. Simply put, the thing to do was cancel and shut down. What are these leagues and federations doing to address this situation?
On March 11th, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed and tested positive for the coronavirus. This is when the league decided to shut down and suspend the season indefinitely. As of right now, there has been no decision made as to when the league might resume or even if it will. It was announced that the league was allowed to re-open their facilities on May 8th, as long as they are located in a state with relaxed or stay-at-home orders and these facilities will only be open for individual workouts under specific restrictions.
When the MLB heard about the coronavirus they suspended spring training indefinitely and delayed the start of their official regular season in response. On May 11th, the owners gave the go-ahead to make arrangements for a delayed season that could possibly start around July the 4th. It was announced on July 6th that the league planned on a return to play, with training restarting on July 1st. There is slated to a 60-game regular-season that began on July 23 and July 24th. The season is continuing, but with some limitations and restrictions. Fans are not allowed in the stadium while players battle it out on the field.
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Every year, the NFL holds a big annual meeting in late March, which is generally attended by team owners, general managers, and coaches of all teams. Unfortunately, this meeting did not take place this year and this was the first recorded year that it did not. The league immediately moved to ban teams from making in-person visits with draft-eligible players. However, they did end up holding somewhat of a virtual draft that took place from April 23rd to 25th. The commissioner Roger Goodell and everyone else involved participated remotely from their homes. Along with these precautions, all international games were canceled, including the ones in London and Mexico City that would have been part of the 2020 schedule.
On March 12th, the league suspended play indefinitely and postponed their draft as well as they coveted postseason award show. This was also a first and something that took the league by surprise. However, it wasn’t long before the league made announcements to push on. That’s right, on May 26th, the league announced that it would continue its 2019-2020 season with a 24-team restart format that wouldn’t, unfortunately, include the Kings or Ducks. The plan said that the season would start no later than July and move directly into a qualification stage for the postseason. It has not been announced as to where these games will take place, but what is known is they will take place at two hub locations within the NHL markets.
The sports world felt the effects of the coronavirus at its peak when two of the biggest and most touted tournaments of the year came to an abrupt and quick end. On March 12th, it was announced that both the men’s and women’s March Madness tournaments would no longer take place as scheduled. Along with this, all the remaining winter and spring championships were canceled. It was also on the very same day that the Pac-12 announced that it was canceling all athletic events involving its teams until further notice.