NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL

The big picture

The virtual NFL draft offers a remote work awakening

"Can't we just video chat with that prospect, not host them on an all-day visit to our facility?"

Apr 27, 2020
Coronavirus' potential second wave looms large over the sports world

It could happen just when sports eyeing a time to fire back up.

Apr 20, 2020
Special report: War, fever and baseball in 1918

1918 saw the Curse of the Bambino take hold.

Apr 6, 2020
How sports media is handling the coronavirus outage

In the era of no sports, the industry is scrambling to find alternatives.

Mar 19, 2020

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18 hours ago - Sports

The sports teams that have issued statements on George Floyd protests

Data: Twitter; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

74 of 123 teams (60%) across the big four American sports leagues issued statements regarding George Floyd's murder and the ensuing nationwide protests as of 12 a.m. ET today.

Why it matters: Teams should be judged by their actions more than their words, but seeing who did and did not acknowledge the biggest story in America gives a sense of what each franchise believes its role — and the role of sports more broadly — should be at a time like this.

Jun 1, 2020 - Sports

The sports world speaks up about death of George Floyd

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. Screenshot: Jaylen Brown/Instagram

There was a time when a months-long sports absence would have silenced athletes, leaving them without a platform to reach fans or make their voices heard.

Why it matters: But now that athletes boast massive social media followings and no longer need live game broadcasts or media outlets to reach millions, they're speaking out en masse amid protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people — delivering messages of frustration and unity, despite their leagues not currently operating.

May 29, 2020 - Sports

NFL tables onside kick proposal

Photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

NFL owners tabled a proposal Thursday that would have given teams an alternative to the onside kick, which has become nearly impossible to convert under the current kickoff rules.

The proposal: If passed, teams would have had two opportunities per game to replace a kickoff with one offensive down from their 25-yard line following a score. If the offensive team gained at least 15 yards, it would retain possession. If not, it would return the ball to the defense.

May 27, 2020 - Sports

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.

May 26, 2020 - Sports

A universal designated hitter is likely coming to the MLB

Data: Baseball Reference; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

If baseball returns in 2020, odds are that the shortened season will include the adoption of a universal designated hitter.

Why it matters: Bringing the DH to the National League is one of baseball's longest-running arguments, but it's been hewing towards adoption for years, and its inclusion-out-of-necessity in 2020 could end the debate.

May 26, 2020 - Sports

How Disney World could host the NBA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After weeks of speculation, the NBA announced Saturday that it is in early discussions to resume its season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

What they're saying: The NBA's most well-sourced reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, says "everything is pointing toward" this happening, and that teams could start recalling players as soon as next week for a two-week quarantine period and formal training camp before heading to Florida.

May 21, 2020 - Sports

This year’s baseball season hinges on a battle between owners and players

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Whether baseball is played this season hinges on an extremely contagious virus that is unlike anything we've ever seen. But next in line is whether MLB owners (billionaires) and players (mostly millionaires) can settle an economic dispute.

Why it matters: If the 2020 MLB season doesn't happen because of safety or logistical concerns, that's understandable. But if money is the issue a year after MLB grossed a record $10.7 billion in revenue, it would be a PR disaster — and the sport might never recover.

May 19, 2020 - Sports

NFL moves to expand Rooney Rule to coordinator interviews

Data: Pro Football Reference; Photos: Getty; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The NFL is expanding the Rooney Rule, effective immediately, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports.

What's happening: The rule, which was established in 2003, has required teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coaching vacancy. Now, teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for any head coaching vacancy and one minority candidate for any coordinator job.

May 18, 2020 - Sports

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

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.

May 17, 2020 - Sports

Game-worn Air Jordan 1s sell for record-breaking $560,000

Photo credit: Sotheby's

A signed pair of Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan during his 1984–85 rookie season sold for $560,000 in a Sotheby's auction on Sunday, breaking the all-time record for most expensive sneaker.

The big picture: The iconic shoes were sold the same day that the final two episodes of ESPN's "The Last Dance," which has consistently smashed live audience records for a documentary, are set to premiere.

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