Major League Baseball has postponed its opening series between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets to double down on testing and contact tracing for Nationals players, coaches and staff, the league announced Friday.
Why it matters: After three Nationals players tested positive for the coronavirus this week, MLB is taking precautions to prevent further delays.
Our Tampa Bay Rays are back again.
The question on everyone's minds: How will they fare a year after winning the AL East for the first time in years and ousting the Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros in the playoffs before losing the World Series to the Dodgers in Game 6?
Here's what the experts are thinking:
If you're thinking about going to a game, the Rays fall on the higher end of the pack in terms of COVID-era capacity — and they do play in the MLB's only fully enclosed stadium:
This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.
The Washington Nationals-New York Mets Opening Day game, which was set to kick off in the nation's capital on Thursday night, will reportedly be postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, per ESPN's Buster Olney.
Why it matters: More than one year after the first professional sports game was canceled due to COVID-19, it's a reminder that the pandemic is still disrupting everyday life — especially as fourth wave of infections driven by new variants looms over the country.
Baseball is back, America. After a 60-game season in 2020, this year's complete 162-game schedule begins this afternoon in the Bronx.
Driving the news: MLB saw just 17 positive tests out of 72,751 conducted (0.02%) last Friday. But five Nationals are currently in quarantine due to a positive test — a reminder of how fragile any sense of stability will be.
The NBA's Basketball Africa League will make its long-awaited debut with a 12-team tournament beginning May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Why it matters: The NBA's attempt at operating a league outside of North America is part of a long-term plan to make the league synonymous with competitive basketball around the world.
Impending legislation will allow student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL) through sponsored social media posts and other means.
Why it matters: If athletes had full control of their NIL rights, the top women's basketball players in this year's Elite Eight would have greater earning power than the top men.
The beauty of March Madness is in the diversity of its participants, evidenced by the remaining schools' total athletic department expenses.
By the numbers: The Sweet 16 runs the gamut from behemoths like FSU ($198.4 million in fiscal year 2019) to this year's Cinderella, Oral Roberts ($12.1 million).
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces 16 lawsuits in Harris County, Texas, from women alleging sexual assault and harassment, after two new suits were filed on Tuesday, the NFL announced.
Why it matters: Watson has been called a "serial predator," per a lawsuit filed Monday night. Accusers have called his behavior "part of a disturbing pattern," CNN writes, though the QB has denied the accusations.
A new era of sports fandom is upon us, one in which fans increasingly come for snacks (highlights) instead of meals (live games).
By the numbers: Among U.S. sports fans ages 18–34, 58% of MLB fans, 54% of NBA fans and 48% of NFL fans say they prefer watching highlights to full games, according to a survey by Variety Intelligence Platform.