Here is the latest information we have to date regarding sports and COVID-19
League Hoping To Reopen Facilities In May
Earlier today, the NHL said that it hopes players will be able to return to local practice facilities in late May. Of course, this will only be possible if allowed by regional Coronavirus-related restrictions.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly discussed the idea in an e-mail with ESPN. He said, “We are not targeting a specific date at this point in time… We are hoping for some point in the latter half of May. Remains to be seen.” Daly also said that no decisions have been made yet regarding players’ access to team facilities.
The league sent out a message about facilities possibly opening up to all teams and players. The NHL has said that it is prepared to wait until the middle of summer or even later to finish the current season. The league emphasized the most important thing is the safety and the protection of players and staff.
New York and Seattle Arenas Still On Track for 2021-22
Both the New York Islanders and Seattle’s Expansion NHL Franchise are saying that construction on their arenas is on schedule despite the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic. Both teams are expecting the arenas to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to reopen the state’s economy earlier this week. The first part of that plan involves restarting construction projects with strict health guidelines. Construction on the Islanders’ Belmont Park project was paused back on March 27th.
Seattle’s construction project has not been impacted by Coronavirus nearly as much as New York’s construction project. Katie Townsend, the VP of Corporate Communications for NHL Seattle, told ESPN, “We were an exemption under the governor’s rules for essential construction. We shut down for just two days in order to do a deep clean of the site and to put in some other measures…”
Baseball Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony Postponed
The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will not be inducted into Cooperstown until next summer. Earlier today, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that it canceled the induction ceremony that was originally scheduled for July 26th. The museum said the Coronavirus Pandemic was the cause of the cancellation.
This year’s group of Hall of Famers will be inducted into Cooperstown with next year’s Hall of Fame class. The next Baseball HOF induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 25th, 2021.
The 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame class features four new inductees: SS Derek Jeter, RF Larry Walker, C Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller, who is the former Executive Director of the MLBPA. The 2020 Hall of Fame class was officially announced on January 21st, 2020.
White House Discusses Reopening Plan With Sports Leagues
Yesterday, chief medical officials from several major American sports leagues participated in a phone call with Seema Verma, a member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force. The White House said the call was held to discuss the role sports will play in the President’s plan to reopen America.
A few of the many leagues that were represented on the call include the NFL, the NBA, the WNBA, the NHL, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the NCAA, the College Football Playoff, and NASCAR.
Verma discussed the importance of bringing back sports while also making sure that fans, players, and staffers were safe. The phone call reportedly lasted over an hour.
“The Last Dance” Continues To Show Good Ratings
Last night, the third and fourth parts of “The Last Dance” aired on ESPN, and plenty of people tuned in to see it. Episodes three and four of the series averaged 5.9 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. 6.1 million people tuned in to watch episode three while 5.7 million people watched episode four.
There were a lot more viewers this week as opposed to last week when the series launched. ESPN and ESPN2 saw a 52% increase in viewership from episodes one and two to episodes three and four.
“The Last Dance” is a ten-part documentary series that follows Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. Episodes five and six of the series will air on ESPN and ESPN 2 on May 4th, 2020.