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How sports leagues react to coronavirus and what fans do to get through

The days of obsession with beloved teams – chatting about NBA playoff betting, complaining about March Madness brackets or meticulously tracking the opening days of the MLB season – have been shortened.

Just ask Benjamin Dennison.

The 24-year-old grew up with basketball. He follows March Madness every year and tells CNN to watch a few NBA games a week. When the NBA stopped their season and March Madness was canceled, he was shocked. Still, he said the changes were “absolutely necessary”.

Bringing so many people together would just be too dangerous right now, he said.

To fill the gap, Dennison said he is watching classic NBA games that have aired some channels. He also went on YouTube and watched highlights. It helps, he said.

Pat Del Rosario, 28, got a little creative with his group of friends. Del Rosario is originally from the Bay Area and sometimes stays awake until 1

a.m. to watch the games of the Golden State Warriors from the east coast. While the NBA was on hold, he and some friends came together virtually and watched an old game on YouTube together. At the same time they played so that they were all in sync.

“It feels like we’re hanging out and COVID is not happening,” the New Yorker told CNN. “It’s like an electrical outlet. You feel normal.”

Though sad that so many sports are now suspended, he agrees with Dennison – the suspensions are necessary, he said.

And most leagues are unlikely to return to normal soon.

For all mourners, you’ll find everything you need to know here about where professional leagues in the United States are responding to their coronavirus response and when you can expect your teams to return.


In March, Major League Baseball canceled spring training and postponed the start of the 2020 season, which is scheduled to begin on March 26, indefinitely.

However, since the spread of the corona virus has not yet slowed down, the league is now considering other options – especially playing all season in one place.

“While we discussed the idea of ​​hosting games in one place as a possible option, we didn’t choose that option or develop a detailed plan,” the MLB said in a statement on Tuesday.

The league is considering “numerous contingency plans” as the situation improves, the league said.

MLB commissioner says & # 39; Situation in the area of ​​public health & # 39; will lead when the games start again
Baseball could start again in May, ESPN reported.

Other reports say the league is trying to get all teams to play in Arizona, where half of the MLB teams are doing their spring training in the Phoenix region. The stadiums are all about 80 km apart, so teams can be quarantined in a hotel and don’t have to travel far to play.

The games would of course be played without fans.

Still, the MLB says it doesn’t have to get approval for a particular plan from government officials or the players’ association.


Almost a month ago, the NBA interrupted its season after Utah jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. This week, Commissioner Adam Silver said there would be no word about when basketball will be back by May – at the earliest.

What can a bored NBA fan do?

For one thing, the players seem to be just as nervous as the fans. 16 players – including Trae Young, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Demarcus Cousins ​​- participated in an NBA 2K20 tournament in which they compete against each other in a basketball video game. So it’s not a real ball, but maybe it fills the void in the hearts of the fans.

NBA returns in virtual form when Kevin Durant leads the video game tournament
If simulated basketball is simply not enough, the NBA has made the League Pass free for fans who are stuck at home until April 22. The service offers replay of games from the 2019-2020 season as well as archived classic games.
Still, many questions remain about the return of the NBA, and it’s not just about the start date. How will the regular season timeline affect? How will playoffs work? These are questions that Silver alluded to in an interview with TNT, but he said it was too early to make any projections.

The WNBA was scheduled to start on May 15, but has since been postponed. New start dates have yet to be announced.


On March 12, the National Hockey League suspended its regular season, which was originally scheduled to end on April 4, followed by the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Apparently a wrench was thrown into the regularly scheduled programming.

The league, like many others, currently doesn’t know much, although Commissioner Gary Bettman said officials hope to learn more by Tuesday’s end of April. That means fans could watch hockey in the middle of summer.


NASCAR has postponed all racing events until May 3rd, but that doesn’t mean there are no races to be seen. It just became virtual.

Many NASCAR drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., have opted for iRacing – where drivers can race from the comfort of their own home. The sport existed long before the corona virus, but has received additional attention due to the virus.

Fox Sports plans to broadcast the rest of the iRacing season on their platforms so NASCAR fans can easily use the sport.


The actual season of the National Football League may be a few months away, but the 2020 draft is still scheduled for April 23.

How is that possible? The draft will be completely virtual, and coaches and team members will hit picks from their homes, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a memo.

In the meantime, league and club facilities will remain closed indefinitely. The NFL season is slated to start in September, but this could change depending on the status of the epidemic.


Both professional tennis for men and women – the ATP and WTA tours – have interrupted their season until June 7, freezing the rankings.

This means that the French Open or Roland Garros, which usually start in May, have been postponed to September 20th.

Roger Federer shows trick shots while he is banned

However, Wimbledon was completely canceled. It was supposed to start on June 29th.

Nevertheless, it is a difficult time for tennis fans everywhere. With players stuck at home, some have used social media to provide content for those who feel disadvantaged by tennis.

For example, Venus Williams teamed up with Grigor Dimitrov to host a training session on Instagram Live. It may not make up for Wimbledon, but it is something.

CNN’s Wayne Sterling and David Close contributed to this report.

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