Coronavirus Update: NBA, NHL, MLB, Other Leagues Postpone Seasons; PGA, NASCAR Ban Crowds

Pro sports leagues have begun postponing or cancelling their seasons and events as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Below is a constantly updated list of announcements from pro leagues. Stay tuned to for more information on how the spread of the coronavirus is impacting the sports-production industry.

On Wednesday, the NBA suspended game play until further notice after a Utah Jazz player (reportedly center Rudy Gobert) preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.  The NBA said it will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NHL will pause the 2019-20 regular season due to the concerns of the coronavirus, the League announced Thursday. The NHL has 189 games remaining, including 10 scheduled for Thursday. The regular season was scheduled to end April 4, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting the week of April 6.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Major League Baseball is expected to suspend spring training. The league likely will delay the beginning of the regular season as well.

The NFL said today that “no plans to move the start of the league year” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the clubs that after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, the NFL’s annual meeting scheduled for March 29-April 1 has been canceled. The NFL Draft remains scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas, but the league is reportedly exploring adjustments.

Major League Soccer has suspended all games, effective immediately, for 30 days, the league announced Thursday as it continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 (the coronavirus).

PGA Tour events – across all Tours – will proceed as scheduled, but will do so without fans.  This policy starts at The Players Championship tomorrow (Friday) and continues through the Valero Texas Open.

NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. NASCAR will work with public health officials to determine future scheduling beyond these events.

The ATP has announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to escalating health and safety issues arising from the global outbreak of COVID-19. The suspension means all ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events scheduled up to and inclusive of the week of April 20 will not take place.

The National Lacrosse League has temporarily suspended play until further notice due to concerns over COVID-19. The league will continue to evaluate this situation and remain in constant communication with health, team, business and league officials across North America.

In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close. The Rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the City’s order.

Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 28 event in Brasilia will go ahead as a behind-closed-doors event, according to reports in Brazil. The event, set to take place at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in the Brazilian capital, was under threat after the city banned all large gatherings following news of a coronavirus outbreak in the city.

NHRA officials are postponing a portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. Some Sportsman racing will be contested this weekend without ticketed spectators, but the majority of the event has been postponed to a later date.

The XFL announced it was canceling its regular season. In an official statement, the league said: “Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games. However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.”

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