The world of professional sports cleared one major hurdle on Monday as leagues navigate their return to the spotlight. The MLB, MLS, NHL and NBA are considering different options for resuming competition, while the NFL is gearing up for the 2020 season this fall that may or may not include fans in stadiums.
The governors of New York, California and Texas signed off on the notion that games can be played in those states on the basis that they be behind closed doors. While empty sports venues will have an inevitable impact on team revenue, leagues and fans alike are eager for games to resume.
“New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that. Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I think this in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the state of New York.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom had previously shown skepticism that the state would hold be able to hold any large-scale gatherings such as concerts or sporting events at all this summer. However, citing the state’s progress in key metrics for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, Newsom said Monday that if current trends continue, pro sports games could take place as early as June 1.
New York and California are home to some of the most lucrative franchises in all of sports and have been battling COVID-19 with strict stay-at-home orders that Cuomo and Newsom have recently started to loosen as part of phased reopenings.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also approved the idea to bring sports back in the state. He offered a May 31 date for certain pro teams to apply to hold games in Texas without fans, saying that his goal is “to find ways to coexist with COVID-19 as safely as possible.”