Photo Courtesy of Matthew Schwartz
Coronavirus and professional sports
May 28, 2020
When coronavirus reached the United States early this spring, life as we once knew it quickly came to a complete halt. Businesses were closed and the majority of the population was told to stay home, all in the effort to slow the destructive path of the virus. Due to the unforeseen restrictions imposed due to this unprecedented epidemic, nearly all American professional sports leagues were forced to either temporarily suspend or delay their seasons, leaving their dedicated fans disappointed and distraught. Luckily, after more than two months of absence, talks have been heating up regarding resuming play across the professional landscape, giving hope to their return in the near future. Here are the supposed reopening plans for the country’s three most popular leagues.
The National Football League, arguably the most popular professional sports league in the country, says they intend on starting the 2020 season in early September as planned, barring any major virus-related developments. Luckily for football fans, the previous NFL season wrapped up in early February at the conclusion of the Super Bowl, and the current epidemic has yet to have any major effect on the league’s schedule. As restrictions across the country continue to loosen, the timely return of football seems hopeful come fall, regardless if fans are in the stadium or not.
Unlike the NFL, the National Basketball Association was nearing the conclusion of its regular season when play was stopped due to the coronavirus, leading to much debate over how the league should handle the rest of its current season. The league has been pretty quiet over the past couple of months but recently ideas have been tossed around regarding professional basketball’s return. Friday was initially given as the date the league would reveal its plans for the rest of the season, but it has been pushed back for the time being as a solid plan has yet to be formed. The league expects play to resume sometime this summer, with the most likely course of action being an immediate advancement to the playoffs in order to make up for the lack of time. Although nothing has been set in stone quite yet, the NBA’s plan for resuming its operations should be released shortly.
Major League Baseball has arguably been the most affected professional sports league in the country due to the coronavirus epidemic, as the start of the league’s new season was slated for late March and early April, which almost perfectly coincided with the nation’s lockdown. The MLB’s new season has been faced with much uncertainty, and many are doubtful it will even be able to occur. Due to the league’s extremely long 162-game season, league officials have recommended cutting the regular season in half and extending the playoffs in order to make up for the lack of time, but nothing has been finalized just yet. I believe as soon as the league identifies their course of action and professional sports are lifted from restriction they will resume play as quickly as they can in order to fit in as many games as possible.
Overall, professional sports in America have been severely affected by this global epidemic, and a return to action in any capacity in the near future would be great news for sports fans everywhere. Although it may not be quite the same experience as usual, professional sports’ return in America would be greatly enjoyed by its people.