Coronavirus Update 3/19: MLS, Premier League, ATP, WTA Lengthen Postponements; WrestleMania 36 Turned to Two-Day Event
In light of the CDC’s recent recommendations for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, pro sports leagues continue to postpone or cancel seasons and events. Last week, SVG began posting a regularly updated list of announcements from pro leagues regarding postponed, canceled, or altered events. Below are further announcements, made on Thursday, March 19. Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more information on how the spread of the coronavirus is impacting the sports-production industry.
MLS, Premier League, ATP, WTA Extend Postponements
Major League Soccer is falling in line with other professional leagues, by stretching out their plan to postpone all matches for another eight weeks. The postponement was originally supposed to last until April 11. The league is exercising all options to plan their entire season and are thinking of playing their MLS Cup in the month of December. The MLS Cup used to be played during that time of year prior to last season.
Overseas, England’s top-flight soccer division, the Premier League, is not playing any of their matches before at least April 30. In year’s past, the league has always remained committed to ending the season by the FA-imposed deadline of June 1, but this year, the FA is waving that restriction in order to complete the season.
Outside of soccer, the ATP and WTA are also pushing back play as well. The entities are planning to resume action on June 7, so tournaments scheduled to take place on June 8 are still moving forward.
WrestleMania 36 Becomes Two-Day Event in Multiple Locations
After making the choice to move the mega event from Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, the WWE is making WrestleMania 36 into a two-day event. Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 7 p.m., former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will take over hosting duties. The main card will be split on that night and will conclude on the event’s original date, Sunday, April 5.
In addition to the multi-day pay-per-view, WrestleMania will also take place at other facilities other than the WWE Performance Center. WWE will announce more details on Friday Night Smackdown on Friday, March 20 on Fox.
Western Hockey League Cancels Remainder of Season
With 63 games played, the Western Hockey League, one of three leagues that constitutes the Canadian Hockey League as the highest level of junior hockey in Canada, is canceling the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Despite further discussions, the last 54 regular-season games will not be played, but the league is planning on playing the 2020 WHL Playoffs at a later date.
“The WHL takes the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in a statement. “Given the ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19, we deemed it necessary to cancel the remaining games on the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season Schedule.”