May 18, 2020 - Sports

States say pro sports without fans could resume soon if criteria met

AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys NFL football

AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Texas will allow all pro sports to resume May 31. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Texas, New York and California say professional sports could begin in the next few weeks without fans, an option franchises are exploring to salvage postponed seasons during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Pro sports and collegiate venues can typically hold thousands of people in one sitting, a main reason nearly all major franchises in the U.S. were forced to discontinue games in early March.

What's happening: State governors who have been encouraged by the lower amounts of hospitalizations and coronavirus cases said Monday that the kick-start of pro sports without spectators could be something to look forward to if these trends continue.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said they would look at statewide announcements to allow pro sports to resume without an audience as early as June 1.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo encouraged sports teams in the state Monday to start planning to hold games without fans in attendance and televise them, offering help.
  • In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced pro sports may resume May 31 if their submitted plans are approved by the state.

The big picture: Pro sports teams are exploring several options such as isolating MLB players in hotels and testing during the season.

  • There could still be strict guidelines for NBA teams resuming workouts, with no more than four players allowed within a facility at one time, Sports Illustrated reports.

Yes, but: There's a lot more to a sports team than just the players — coaches, trainers and media broadcasters would also need to be quarantined after traveling.

The bottom line: Whether due to social distancing efforts or summer weather, infection rates will eventually go down. But this early in the pandemic's cycle, that reality might act as a false positive of sorts if pro sports moves too quickly, endangering players and others.

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