If Florida is starting to reopen, what does that mean for pro sports?

Tribune Content Agency

The beginning of plan to reopen Florida after weeks of coronavirus restrictions was revealed on Wednesday, but it doesn’t mean you’ll soon be watching the Miami Heat or Miami Marlins games on TV.

Although Gov. Ron DeSantis released the first phase a plan to reopen most of the state, it specifically excluded South Florida, and a return to sports and large crowds aren’t on the radar yet, anyway.

All of America’s major professional sporting leagues remain on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, with no dates in place to resume play.

Under normal circumstances, the NBA and NHL would be holding playoff games now. Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer would be more than a month into their regular season. The NFL is in the middle of its offseason, but after holding a virtual draft last week, there is no start in sight for minicamps or organized team activities.

With MLB exploring options to start its season that’s been delayed from the original March 26 Opening Day, one alternative that’s been thrown out is splitting 30 teams into three regional divisions, according to The Associated Press.

Florida, which is a large host of MLB spring training with ballparks and facilities scattered throughout the state, could be a hub for such a scenario.

DeSantis touched on the possibility of eventually having fans attend those games down the line.

“I don’t think we’re probably ready to have fans,” DeSantis said, “but I do think, if the trends are good, as you get into June, July, I think there is a window to have some fans.

“You’re not going to have everyone packed in, but man, in 90-degree weather in the state of Florida, if you’re out there and someone’s 10 feet away from you and you want to watch a ballgame, you may be able to do that.”

The NBA, which suspended its regular season within its final quarter of games, says its planning for a May 8 reopening of team facilities for players to train and receive treatment.

The MLS, with expansion franchise Inter Miami CF playing its inaugural season, has extended its suspension of matches until at least June 8, and the moratorium on teams training together runs through May 15.

Professional wrestling, earlier in April, was considered by Florida’s government an essential business and employees were exempt from earlier stay-at-home orders in the state, included in an executive order as “employees at professional sports and media production with a national audience” only if “the location is closed to the general public.”


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