The professional sports landscape in the United States is likely to be on hold for far longer than expected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on March 15 that events or gatherings involving 50 people or more be called off for the next eight weeks.
The National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer, among others, put their seasons on hold for at least 30 days in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
But it now appears more likely that the American sports calendar will not return until the end of May at the very least, which would drastically change any planned resumption of competition and also hit major sporting events scheduled for the early summer.
According to ESPN, NBA owners and executives believe a return to competition in mid-to-late June is the league’s best-case scenario, meaning a three-month hiatus. Teams have been told to search out arena dates well into August for a potential playoffs, while games could resume in smaller venues without fans.
The Athletic, meanwhile, reports that NBA teams are allowing players to return to their home cities during the indefinite break to be with their families, with the requirements that they provide their whereabouts, remain at home and practice social distancing. MLB has already done the same with its players, sending them home from Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida.
“We will persevere through this, and when we get to the other side, we will come back together in the setting we love most,” said John Sherman, newly in place as the chairman and lead owner of MLB’s Kansas City Royals. “In the meantime, we all have an important part to play, from the personal responsibility of knowing and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and our local health officials, to actively helping the most vulnerable among us.”
It is also expected that the remainder of the NBA G League season will be cancelled.