Coronavirus not only put our lives on hold leaving us homebound but stole a large piece of our entertainment. The virus cancelled NCAA March Madness Basketball, two major PGA Tour events and postponed the conclusions of the NHL and NBA seasons and the beginning of MLB baseball.
Those of us armchair quarterbacks who were desperate for sports were stuck with Eastern European table tennis, South American professional sports and most notably Korean Baseball. Hardly a consolation prize.
Luckily for racing fans, NASCAR has made its return. UFC and some major European soccer leagues have now resumed, but will the rest return and if so, when?
Here’s your guide:
Major League Baseball
Negations between players and owners are underway. The owners already have approved a July return to baseball – which looks unlikely – but the players are pushing back over how the revenue would be shared between owners and themselves.
The owners proposed a pay cut which players seemed to accept, but now owners are pushing for an additional pay cut with an 82-game season. The players would like a 100-game season with fully prorated salaries.
It seems unlikely that the MLB will be able to play a 100-game season at this point, but it may be a negotiating tactic as players seek to receive a fully prorated salary. If there’s baseball – which it seems less than likely at this point– it’s going to lbe much closer to an 82-game season than a 100-game season given the calendar. Teams will need weeks of training and team activity to resume regular play.
National Basketball Association
When the season halted, teams had played around 63-65 games each leaving less than 20 of the 82 regular season games remaining.
The NBA Draft which normally takes place in late June after the season will likely be pushed back to September – with the free agency before the draft. This gives the league a runway to complete the season in some fashion.
The NBA is meeting on Friday to resume talks on how to finish the season, but it’s likely the league would resume with a Playoff schedule while giving some teams on the outside looking in a chance to play their way into the Playoffs or just jump into the playoffs with an expanded playoff format. In the current format 16 teams (8 from the Eastern Conference, and 8 from the Western Conference) make the playoffs, but we could maybe see that expanded to 20 or 24.
Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard expressed he won’t play unless this team has a “true opportunity” to make the playoffs. We assume other players share the same sentiment.
The league is also exploring hosting all the games on the same site. Orlando and in particularly Disney has been tossed around as a specific location.
National Hockey League
The NHL is returning to action with a 24-team playoff format which will be played in select “hub cities.” The seven teams which did not qualify for the playoff are done for the year. They are:
Detroit Red Wings
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Currently, there is no date set to resume play but Commissioner Gary Bettman is planning on a late summer or early fall return.
National Football League
The NFL plans to play its regularly scheduled season kicking off on Thursday, September 10th with a matchup between Super Bowl Champions the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.
NFL coaching staffs and players are currently meeting digitally four times per week for two hours each to go over playbooks and offensive/defensive schemes.
The league obviously will do everything in its power to ensure it cashes in on its television megadeal contracts, but don’t expect to attend a game in-person this year.
While the NFL teams are carrying on ticket sales and planning for fans in stadiums, we put it at less than 50-50 odds fans will be able to grab an overpriced hot dog and Miller Lite at an NFL stadium this season.
There are 130 Division 1 college football programs. That’s 130 Universities across nearly 40+ states which all have different rules on how, if, when they will return to campus in the fall.
To make matters worse, some major football schools – like the University of Michigan – have said they won’t play football if students are not back on campus.
The NCAA is preparing for college football in the fall, but there will be some major hurdles to clear to kick off in the fall.
Last weekend, enthusiasts were treated to a golf match between Phil Mickelson/Tom Brady vs. Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning where Tom Brady notably ripped his pants mid-match.
However, golf is about to get much better. This week the PGA Tour announced it will resume play on June 11-14th with the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The PGA Championship which was previously postponed will be played August 6-9 and the coveted Masters Tournament has been rescheduled for mid-November.