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When Will Sports Come Back In The US?

Here are my predictions

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the US, state and local economies have been strategic and progressive in re-opening (right or wrong), while major sports leagues haven't. Here's the timeline of events I believe plays out for each of the major professional sports (starting with most optimistic).

NFL - professional football really dodged a bullet with the timing of spikeyboy coronavirus making its way into the country. The Super Bowl had already happened, operations have been largely unaffected, and by all accounts the virtual draft was a huge success. Training camps will begin later than usual, but I believe the regular season game schedule will be business as usual. However, I don't think fans will be allowed in the stands, but possibly when the playoffs hit (but stadiums will not allowed to be at full capacity). Who isn't excited for pre-recorded fan noise?!

NHL - true to its reputation, the NHL has shown to be decisive and solution-oriented, instead of getting caught up in decision paralysis on how to finish the season (looking at you, NBA) . The NHL recently agreed to a restart involving a 24-team playoff elimination bracket instead of finishing the regular season first, played in only 2 or 3 locations, and commencing no sooner than July. I love this format and plan, but the question remains - does the league have enough support from its players and those cities to execute that play in a timely manner (or at all)?

NBA - I believe commissioner Adam Silver has been a pragmatic voice of reason through the pandemic (after all, the NBA was the first league to cancel games), but there may not be enough support from the rest of the league and the players to successfully finish the season. If anything, I think the NBA will jump straight into a shortened playoffs with the usual 8 teams per conference, as there have been outspoken players (Damian Lillard, specifically) crying out against non-contending teams having to finish the regular season. I predict it will be at least August before we see another NBA game, if any at all.

MLB - I haven't followed the player / owner negotiations all that much, but from the cliffnotes I have gathered, my gut tells me there is no MLB season this year. The bottom 70% of earners among players (and especially the bottom 40%) likely do need the money and acn't afford the sit out a full year of their baseball life, however the top 30% of earners may be content sitting at home. It is the elite players, I think, that are the dealbreaker for the season - if enough of those players and their agents refuse to come to the table and make a deal with the owners, the season won't happen. I personally don't see a season happening.

Golf - come one, let's get those guys back out there, the rest of America is out on the golf course already! Golf is a socially distanced sport in its nature, and it doesn't require crowds. No brainer.

Australian Rugby - Just kidding. They may be playing again already for all I know.

We'll see in a few months which of these predictions hold any water.

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