After a very long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, live sport is making a return. Leagues across multiple sporting disciplines have either already restarted, have a restart date, or are in the final stages of a restart plan.
The NBA is still to finalise its final recommendations for players to return, but many believe there should be games by July. The format for the rest of the season is also still to be determined, with the front running idea currently playing at two neutral venues.
The league would play out at Disney World and/or in Las Vegas. No fans will be allowed, but there will be a condensed schedule and all the games will be televised. Barring another delay, all games will be played, but if there is another delay, apparently the league will go straight to the playoffs. Either way, you can bet that this season is still going to be as exciting as ever.
On a negative note though, there has been no word on when the WNBA will return. There is talk that the NBA is obviously getting preference, but a restart for the WNBA is probably in the works, but is just not possible at the moment.
Baseball is an interesting one as the league didn’t even start before the lockdown was put in place. However, executives have been discussing a shortened, more condensed season that will allow for all teams to play as well as have a fair shot at the championship.
There were discussions about playing all games at a neutral venue as well, but as of now, no restart date has been decided yet and executives and the higher-ups are still discussing the final plan for a restart.
The NFL is currently busy with completely virtual offseason workouts and training. There hasn’t been a clear plan yet with how the NFL are going to move forward, with no teams being allowed in-person training until all 32 teams can do so safely.
Many are saying the NFL is waiting for the likes of the NBA and the MLB to move forward with their restart plans before restarting themselves, so that they can see what they should and shouldn’t do and the best path forward.
The NHL has already announced a 24-team playoff format, and training camp can start no sooner than July 1st. A specific return date has not been agreed yet and discussions are still taking place.
Another sport that a lot of fans are excited for its return is football. Currently, the Eredivisie in the Netherlands and Ligue 1 in France have both ended their seasons, with Ajax and PSG being crowned champions.
Many are saying this move was premature considering leagues that are still suspended have come up with plans to restart their leagues as safely as possible. And in the case of Germany, they have already restarted.
The Bundesliga made a return, with guidelines in place to ensure player safety. Social distancing is maintained off the pitch, no fans are allowed in the stadium, and tests are done regularly.
The Premier League is set to return mid-June, games will be played behind closed doors but all players and staff are tested regularly, and changes to the schedule have been made to ensure the games get finished in time for a break before the next season.
People are also wanting to know when or if the Champions and Europa Leagues will return. Right now, officials are wanting the finals to be played at the end of August, with the remaining games fitting in along the way.
Formula 1 is another sport set to return in the next few weeks. Recently, an 8 race, European calendar was revealed. The shortened and more localised calendar allows for less travel, as well as less chance of any of the drivers and crew contracting the virus.
8 races is the minimum number needed to crown a champion. All the races will take place between the beginning of July and the beginning of September, with races happening in Austria, Hungary, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium and Italy.
Tennis tournaments have either been cancelled or rescheduled for the end of the year. Golf is in a similar bit, but they are restarting sooner as social distancing is a lot easier on a golf course.
In the world of cycling, the Tour de France has obviously been delayed, as well as the other major grand tours in the schedule. They have been pushed to the second half of the year, and will happen one after the other.
Even though cycling will return, there is the strong possibility that most riders won’t be able to cycle in every grand tour as the schedule will just be too condensed, with little time to recover after two or three weeks of racing.
In the end, sport is returning, and a lot of it too. Even though most games and matches won’t allow spectators, that is only a temporary measure. The most important thing being that in little to no time, we will be able to cheer for our favorite team or players as they step onto the pitch, the mound, or the court.