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Data: Morning Consult National Tracking Poll of 1,512 self-reported sports fans, April 3-5, 2020; MOE ± 3%; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been 26 days since the sports world effectively shuttered, and fans are eager to start watching games again, but not quite as eager to attend them.

The state of play: According to a new Morning Consult poll, 51% of fans think live sports will return between June and September, while only 8% think the void will bleed into 2021.

  • Yes, but: Many of those same fans are wary of how long it will take for them to feel comfortable attending those games, with 35% saying they'd need until at least October — and 22% saying they'd need until next year.
Data: Morning Consult National Tracking Poll of 1,512 self-reported sports fans, April 3-5, 2020; MOE ± 3%; Chart: Axios Visuals

What the leagues are saying: Until testing increases and infection and death rates drastically decrease, leagues won't be working on much more than conjecture. Still, here's the latest:

Domestic:

  • MLB: Sources tell Axios that MLB is deliberating on the following dates: Spring Training restarts June 15, season begins without fans July 1, fans return Aug. 1. There's also another crazy plan where all 30 teams would isolate themselves in Arizona and play fan-less games starting in May.
  • PGA: Under a new proposed plan, the PGA Championship will be held in early August, the U.S. Open will be held in mid-September and the Masters — originally scheduled for this week — will be held Nov. 12–15.
  • NBA: Players like Danny Green remain optimistic ("We're for sure gonna have a season, so all the things you see on the news, don't believe it"), while insiders like Brian Windhorst sing a different tune ("The pessimism is really growing").
  • NHL: The league has reportedly tossed around the idea of finishing the season and postseason in North Dakota.
  • MLS: No official updates since March 19, when the suspension was extended to May 10 based on the CDC's ban of large gatherings.
  • UFC: President Dana White said that he's close to a deal to stage fights on a private island. Fighters would arrive via private plane, presumably with coronavirus tests before arriving.

Abroad:

  • Premier League: They hope to complete the season in a concentrated timeline across June and July by quarantining clubs and playing all matches on a handful of fields.
  • KBO: Korea's top baseball league is ahead of the pack, playing intrasquad scrimmages and targeting April 20 for a fan-less start to the regular season.
  • NPB: Japan's top baseball league was tracking towards the same timeline as the KBO, but pressed pause when three players tested positive in late-March.

The bottom line: Whether your favorite league is offering a pessimistic or optimistic update, I recommend taking everything with approximately 6,500 grains of salt. In the immortal words of Ygritte: "We know nothing, Jon Snow."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

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