The coronavirus has become a global pandemic, and its impact is being felt all across the sports world. Many of the major sports leagues are canceling games or even suspending entire seasons in the midst of the COVID-19 threat.
Check back here at abe Insights for the latest updates and news on the major sports leagues, with a particular focus on those based in the U.S.
Summer Olympics: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday, March 24, that the Summer Games in Tokyo would be postponed until 2021.
NBA: The 2019-20 season has been indefinitely suspended as of Wednesday, March 11, per ESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday, March 17, that four members of the Brooklyn Nets tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, members of the Nuggets, 76ers, Celtics and Lakers have tested positive, too.
Wojnarowski is also reporting the 2020 NBA draft could be moved back to August or September from its planned June 25 date.
NCAA: All basketball conference tournaments were canceled on Thursday, March 12, as reported by ESPN. Then, the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships, including the NCAA basketball tournament.
NHL: League commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Thursday, March 12, that the 2019-20 campaign would be on pause until further notice.
MLB: As first reported by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal on Thursday, March 12, MLB Spring Training is suspended, and the 2020 regular season is pushed back by at least two weeks. Teams have been advised as of Sunday, March 16, to not gather en masse for organized team workouts.
The Players Association and MLB hope to begin the season in May, per a report by ESPN.com's Jeff Passan.
NFL: Brian McCarthy, who works for the NFL's public relations, released a statement on Thursday, March 12, to confirm the annual league meeting had been canceled. On Monday, March 16, the league announced plans to televise the 2020 draft, but public events in Las Vegas won't be taking place anymore.
PGA Tour: The Tour planned to proceed as scheduled with The Players Championship without fans in attendance, but canceled the event after one round on Thursday, March 12. Golf Digest's Brian Wacker previously reported all tournaments through the AT&T Byron Nelson (May 7-10) would be canceled.
On Thursday, April 16, the Tour released a revised schedule, which will see play resume June 8-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. While the 2020 PGA Championship will take place in August, this year's U.S. Open (Sept. 14-20) and Masters Tournament (Nov. 9-15) are actually to be part of the 2020-21 season wraparound schedule.
Tennis: The ATP Tour said in a news release it's suspending the 2020 season for six weeks due to public health and safety issues over COVID-19. The WTA canceled two tournaments. Both decisions were officially announced on Thursday, March 12.
XFL: The new football league is cutting short its maiden season, announcing Thursday, March 12 the decision to not play any more regular-season games. However, players will still be paid as if they did play. On Friday, April 10, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the XFL is suspending operations.
MLS: The U.S. soccer league announced a 30-day suspension of its season on Thursday, March 12. Many international football leagues are suspended. The Premier League and others in England are stopping their seasons until at least April 30.
Auto Racing: Formula One canceled the Australian Grand Prix and is reportedly discussing a June 7 date to begin the new season. NASCAR and the IndyCar Series initially planned to race this past weekend, but relented. All IndyCar races through April have been canceled. NASCAR hopes to return on May 8-9 at Martinsville Speedway.
UFC: Fight Night 170 went on, but without fans. Per MMAFighting.com, the event in Brazil started two hours earlier due to coronavirus precautions. On Monday, March 16, ESPN's Ariel Helwani reported the next three UFC events were canceled.
UFC president Dana White announced on Thursday, April 9, per ESPN, that UFC 249 won't happen on the 18th and that all other events are postponed, too. White has since said he's buidling out a fight card for a prospective May 9 event at a location to be determined.
Horse Racing: The Kentucky Derby has been postponed until September 5.
It's become an obvious priority for leadership among major sports leagues to prioritize the safety of its employees and fans. Mass social gatherings have been discouraged by medical experts, so it only makes sense to take widespread, maximum precautions.
As for the sports betting element of the equation, DraftKings — and presumably other major sportsbooks — have put forth a policy of voiding bets that customers placed on games impacted by the coronavirus.
Sports fans would love to see their favorite teams back in action. Bettors are eager to capitalize on the sports betting legalization movement across the country. However, until public safety is more of a certainty, the majority of the sports world is on hold.
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