Sports are a central part of life in the US and indeed around the whole world. From baseball to soccer and football, we all love to follow our favorite team and catch up on the latest action. With sports betting now legal in some US states, many people also love to make money from predicting how games will finish. This is a growing sector within North America, as the popularity of Pennsylvania online sports betting sites shows. We are now living through uncertain times though due to the spread of coronavirus, and sports have not escaped Covid-19’s far-reaching grasp.
As the virus is thought to spread through close physical contact between people, it has made playing games or completing seasons as planned nigh on impossible. But what exactly has been the impact on major sports seasons, and how might they decide to finish things?
Basketball – NBA affected
As with all major sports in the country, basketball has been hit in a major way by the spread of the virus. With the risk of players and crowds coming into close physical contact being too great, the NBA decided in mid-March to suspend the 2019/20 season until further notice. In terms of what happens next, it is a tricky call.
With measures to help protect people from the virus in place until April 30th 2020 at least in the US, it seems that many pro teams are expecting the season to resume again around summertime. This would allow players to get back to full fitness and also give the NBA time to arrange how the rest of the season would look. It may even be the case that they end the regular season with the standings as they are and then fit the post-season games into the rest of the year.
Hockey sees a halt to the action
Covid-19’s spread around the world has also affected the NHL season. This is a real shame for fans as it was coming to its climax before being suspended in mid-March 2020. But how might the people in charge of the NHL plan to finish the season? As with basketball, they will not be able to resume anything before April 30th at least due to social distancing measures.
When it is possible for fans to travel to games and for players to mix again, it would seem that they may simply try to play out the remaining regular-season games and then move quickly into the Stanley Cup round of games. This should not be a problem in terms of timescale as there are not actually that many games left in the NHL season to get through. As with the NBA, you would expect the main focus to be on getting this season completed in time to start the next one as usual.
Soccer also affected by a virus spread
Soccer is another major sport in the US that has been left in a quandary with current events. The 2020 MLS season had only just got going when play was suspended on March 12th 2020, and it is in lockdown for 30 days as of now. As the season is at such an early stage, it is not really possible to leave the standings as they are. It would seem that the most reasonable course of action would be to simply resume play again when allowed – even if the number of games played is reduced.
What will baseball do?
The MLB season should have started on March 26th 2020, but the coronavirus outbreak initially saw Spring Training games cancelled and a two-week delay applied to the start of the 2020 season. This has now given way to an indefinite delay to the whole season. Many think that the simplest thing would be to write off this season and resume again in March 2021 when the virus should be well under control. If this does not happen, then the MLB season may be played over fewer games to help get it completed in time.
Big decisions for major sports leagues
From the NBA to the NHL, MLS, and MLB, there are some major sporting leagues that need to work out how their seasons will finish after this outbreak is controlled. For some, it could be ending as the current standings show or fitting in remaining games when back in action – others, however, may decide to cancel seasons if this looks a better bet. In some ways, you have to think that the NFL is in an enviable position here – as it is not due to begin again until September 2020, it should not have these tough decisions to make.