Sports leagues really want to play games again. They just can’t figure out how.
With many claiming for unemployment insurance and fearing for their health, it seems as sports have fallen into a deep, black hole with no immediate date for bouncing back, but the athletic world is beginning to creep toward competition again. The two-month stop forced by the coronavirus pandemic is coming to and end, and this is how:
- The NFL released its 2020 schedule last night; the season is still scheduled to start Sept 10.
- “The Match,” part 2: Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning will battle Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a charity golf tournament on May 24.
- NASCAR is set to return on May 17.
- Some MLS players have started training again.
- The Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, will return May 16. Since no spectators will be allowed, one team is selling cardboard cutouts of fans to place around the stadium.
- Soccer teams in Germany, Spain and Italy have resumed training in the hopes of resuming their seasons, professional golfers are eying a late spring return to competition and touring tennis pros learned this week that an altered version of a season is in the works.
- The UFC will be back on May 9 with UFC 249, and will be held in Jacksonville, Florida
Is it safe to resume sports?
Karen Crouse and he sports world is a many-tentacled behemoth, and its return to life is characterized by uneven circumstances. Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, the chief medical officer for the U.S.O.P.C., said that as restrictions are reduced, “there will be a potential for outbreaks, and we have to anticipate that will happen.” In the United States, while some business are reopening, no state is at the point where gyms, pools, training centers or even open-air running tracks are widely open.
If competitive sports do resume in the near future, they will almost certainly be contingent on widespread testing and fewer people interacting. Likewise, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, whenever that may be, could result in a big uptick of sports consumption. Just like any other industry, sports will return very slowly. And with strict public health measures in place, it’ll look far different than when we left it.