One of the major industries that COVID-19 had shut down almost immediately were professional sports. Although the NFL season concluded weeks before stay at home orders took place, other major sports were not so lucky. Both the NBA season and NHL season were practically halfway through their season when COVID-19 hit. On top of that, the MLB season was drawing closer, and word or a postponed season spread quickly. However, despite all of it, the NBA, NHL, MLB and we can only assume the NFL will all be back before the end of 2020. This post will go over details regarding each sports plan to return or continue where they left off.
NBA Season Set To Return
Back in February of 2020, a lifetime ago it seems, the NBA decided to put the season on pause. In order to reduce the chances of spreading or contracting the virus, the NBA has relocated all the teams to Orlando, Florida at Disney World. The league will test players daily, provide accommodations, and will enforce penalties on those who break the bubble rules.
Unfortunately, not every team made the cut, which was based on each team’s record at the time. The Bulls were one of the teams that did not make it. Business Insider reports that the 22 teams competing will play at least 8 games to determine seeding. If everything goes according to plan, the actual playoffs would begin in September, and a Game 7 finals match-up would be in October. The NBA season will be back on July 30th, 2020.
From 162 Games To 60
Possibly one of the biggest changes in any of America’s major sports was the MLB’s decision to make this season only 60 games. As reported in the Sun-times, Cubs and Sox fans have 162 games to watch before the postseason. With the dramatic reduction of games, some people have speculated that the world series title may not be so meaningful. Nevertheless, both players, coaches, and fans of the game cannot wait for baseball’s return.
As of now, the MLB season is slated to begin on July 23rd and 24th, according to Sports Illustrated, however not in a “bubble”. Instead regular travel will take place over the 60 game stretch. Additionally, SI reports that players and coaches will adhere to new health protocols. Baseball players do not contact each other as much as other sports, but commonly touched surfaces present a problem.
As of right now, the NFL plans on conducting a full season, with little to no hindrance from COVID-19. Unlike other leagues, the NFL has no plans on conducting daily tests or screenings, as reported by ESPN. This creates a dangerous situation, especially since some people do no show symptoms or have delayed symptoms. In either case, they are still contagious and could spread the disease unknowingly. On top of that, as ESPN notes, NFL players are not known for sitting out or reporting injuries. Hopefully, the NFL will put together a strict plan as other professional sports leagues have done.
Straight To Playoffs
Similar to the NBA season, the NHL season was already underway when they were put on pause. However, a key difference between each league’s seasons will be that the NHL does not plan on resuming regular season games. Instead the NHL’s plan is to go straight to the playoffs. As for testing, the NHL’s plan is to test players twice weekly for the remainder of their season. Although the NHL has not set a date for the start of their playoffs, CBS reports that they are eyeing late July.