Major Sports vs. Coronavirus – Status Report

Major Sports vs. Coronavirus – Status Report

Greensboro Coliseum after the NCAA college basketball games cancelled. (Photo/Ben McKeown)

 

The Coronavirus changed every aspect of our lives, limiting movement and social gatherings.  One big part of communities and everyday life that was affected was the cancellation of nearly all sport events.  Be it playing sports for fun, going to watch your children’s game, or going to a major sport event – all has been paused right now along with anything else in our lives that requires going out and being around others.

Along with the sports events that have been cancelled, there was also a big impact on sports betting.  Where many states in the US just started legalizing online casino, poker and sports betting, allowing Americans to place a bet from their own home, using a legal sports-betting website or app.  Due to the major cancellation of sports events, now a lot of the sports betting apps are getting much less traffic and business than initially forecasted.  

When will things get back to normal and sport events will be back? Nobody can really tell right now.  There are also discussions on resuming sports leagues with empty stadiums for the time being.  This will allow us to watch sporting events and competitions on television, and even place bets online of sports-betting mobile apps and websites.  However leagues and players for now are only considering these ideas, with no official plans in motion yet to play without fans in the stands. 

So for now, a few sport events were cancelled (the NCAA, Wimbledon and British Open), most have been postponed and suspended, and a few others remain unchanged (mainly events and leagues with a start date that is further in the future, namely the NFL and US Open).

We gathered a few specific leagues and events, and their current status:

Olympics

The Summer Olympics which were scheduled to open in Tokyo, Japan on July 24th this year have been postponed to July 23rd, 2021.  This also includes the Paralympics, which have also been pushed back a year from this August to August 2021.

Baseball

Major League Baseball did begin Spring Training and only a few games were actually played.  But the league that was officially supposed to kick off on March 12 has been postponed until further notice.  There were various ideas considered about starting the season in May, all teams playing only in the State of Arizona under safe conditions, and more.

Football

The NFL was pretty lucky with timing, with the post season ending with the Super Bowl in January before the pandemic erupted, and the regular season scheduled to start only in September 10th.  So there are high hopes for the NFL to start as planned.

The XFL was not as lucky.  The new football league that just kicked off its first season in its new edition was shut down a few games into the season.  For now the XFL has fired all staff, and there is no indication of another season starting. 

Basketball

The NBA season was suspended on March 11, after teams played between 63 and 67 games of the total of 82 season-games.  For now there is no date for the NBA league to continue.  However the National Basketball League administration is one of the active voices on the idea of playing in empty stadiums until the Coronavirus pandemic is contained.   

The WNBA season that was supposed to kick off on May 15th was also postponed until further notice.

N.C.A.A.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) paused all games and activities on March 12th.  So winter sports didn’t finish, and sprint-season sports had just begun. 

This includes Division I basketball, which is one of the biggest sources of profits for the NCAA.  Spring sports athletes (e.g. Football) who missed a season will be available for an extra year of eligibility to play.

Soccer

Major League Soccer suspended its season on March 12th, after each team playing two games.  MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said that he still wants the MLS to play a full season this year.  

All European soccer leagues have been shut down, other than Belarus, where the league is still active and games are still played.

One of the world’s biggest soccer spectacles that was scheduled for this summer, Euro 2020 was supposed to start in June, and has been pushed back to 2021.

Hockey

The NHL paused its season relatively late compared to other major league sports, and suspended its season on May 12th, with each team playing around 70 out of 82 season games. 

The world championship that was supposed to be held in Switzerland in May was cancelled.

Tennis

Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II.  The US Open that is booked for August 31st is still on.  The French Open moved to September 20th from May.

Golf

The PGA Tour managed to get through the first round before shutting down on March 12th.  The British Open scheduled for July was cancelled.  The PGA’s US Open and Masters are still on track for September 17th and November 12th respectively.

U.F.C.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has pushed to resume and have fights and events in new venues, but still cancelled events upon request of broadcasting partner ESPN.

U.F.C. President Dana White suggested that he hopes to continue holding fights in a safe setting, possibly on an unnamed private island.

Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May to September.  The Preakness was postponed but the Belmont is still on for June 6th.

There are still some gambling going on for smaller races, with punters being able to bet legally on smaller races using sports-betting mobile apps and websites in various states where online gambling is now legal.

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