“Sports–T’is the Season”
We’re waiting. Everyone is waiting. Waiting for this pandemic virus to subside.
We may be in for a much longer wait.
President Trump held a 30-minute conference call with the heads of 13-different sports leagues detailing his hopes this weekend.
He has said he hopes sports teams will be back on the field, playing infront of fans on August 1st. That’s 4-months from now.
Optimistic? Pessimistic? Realistic? No one knows.
Here’s the latest on what the major sports are saying:
BASEBALL…Players are working out on their own. MLB may need at least 2-weeks of ramped up spring training to launch a shortened season. What was hoped for, a July 1st startup, seems impossible, considering the virus has yet to apex in the East, and has not arrived in the West. Rob Manfred had hoped for a 100-game season starting July 1st, and an entire postseason of games in mid-October into November at neutral sights, in warm weather cities or domed stadiums. Now the latest idea, take all 30-teams, move major league rosters to the Cactus League, use 11-spring training sights in Arizona, and play a shortened season, in empty stadiums, until the virus lifts around the country. A complex project for sure, to transport, house, feed, and test players each day.
FOOTBALL…The NFL and college football have not been impacted yet. But as the clock ticks, and days come off the calendar, time grows shorter. No OTA workouts, no minicamps, for the mass of NFL rosters. Virtually no spring football, and what appears to be a limited preseason workouts for college football. And then again, where to play and practice if the virus is not tamped down by late spring into early summer. NFL teams would need at least a month to get ready for the rigors of pro football play. You’re talking 90-players in camp, and a whole support staff of coaches and trainers and equipment people, and doctors to test players. College football says it needs 4-weeks of some type of camp, but how can you do that if college campuses are still closed down? What about real hot spots like Seattle-Los Angeles and the late arrival virus to the West Coast? The NFL says full schedule-full stadiums. Doctors say that’s not likely yet and there is no target date. Football’s problems are still ahead of them.
BASKETBALL…The NBA is reeling, and the financial devastation is right infront of them. They have asked their players to take a 50% pay-cut. They are looking at 1.2B financial loss of half the schedule, and this comes on top of a 450M loss when the China dispute erupted in the summer leading to the cancellation of enormous sponsorship contracts. Commissioner Adam Silver is considering going right to the playoffs now, with all the games to be played in 2-Arenas in neutral sight Las Vegas, only on TV, with no fans on hand. Teams might have two weeks of a mini training camp before the so called tournament–playoffs would begin. Doctors say they don’t know if you can bring all these teams in at once to play, and should those players be tested daily. The cancellation of March Madness has led to a 62% drop of revenue sharing for every college athletic program in the nation, big time to the smallest of Division III.
HOCKEY…The NHL had no plans to finish out what was left of the regular season, and still does not know what its postseason would look like. Hockey players are home, but there are no rinks open for skating, so to get them back on the ice, and in cardiovascular shape to play may take longer than just a couple of weeks. Gary Bettman is inquiring about arena availability for dates in July-August. Can you imagine ice conditions in places like Boston-New York-Tampa Bay-in mid-summer?
GOLF-AUTO RACING-TENNIS-HORSE RACING….A Kentucky Derby in September? The Masters in October? The US Open in fall?
Wimbledon in late fall? A revamped NASCAR-Indy Car-Formula schedule over the final 4-months of 2020? The Tokyo Olympics moved to next summer. The English Premier League-MLS thinking 2-games a week starting in July? That is what is being discussed, but no one know for sure, especially with the horrors of what is still happening in England, Italy, Spain, the heartbeat countries of pro soccer.
T’is the season for sports, but no games being played, everyone in scramble mode to think what might be possible, fearing the impossible, that sports, as we know it, will remain closed down.
That there may be no games at all in 2020. No one can predict. The virus-crisis dictates right now.