Professional sports on timeout

No Fans

Being part of the crowd won’t be part of the fan experience. Because of the ban on large groups, going to an arena or stadium to watch your favorite sport isn’t going to happen. All the major sports are now looking for ways to get fans more involved as they eye the possibility that games will be televised live without an audience. American leagues are looking to Asia for answers; Japan’s baseball teams have been playing to empty stadiums for weeks.

Practice Alone

In a memo circulated to teams, the NBA outlined a lengthy list of safeguards for practice: no more than four players permitted at a facility at one time; coaches and players must remain 12 feet apart; only one player per basket allowed; and two players cannot shoot on the same basket.

Team Isolation

The MLB is looking at the feasibility of isolating entire teams, including management staff for the entire season to keep people from being exposed to the coronavirus. For Spring Training, they could relocate players to an area where outbreaks have been small and set up camp for the season.

Pregame Tests

In Germany, teams will be testing players for the coronavirus before every game. The Bundesliga soccer league has targeted a May return for games without spectators. Officials say it will cost about $3 million to administer 25,000 coronavirus tests on a weekly basis to the league's 1,100 players.

Daily Screenings

Protocol for the phased reopening of NFL facilities includes daily screening of employees, visitors, contractors, etc., who must answer questions and have temperatures checked upon arrival. Baseball just resumed in South Korea (KBO League), and some soccer teams in Europe are also having their their temperatures checked daily.

basketball season Ends

The NBA is in a holding pattern, but the Warriors' Steve Kerr tells us they aren't expecting to play any more games this season. The NBA could call for playoffs based on current standings. The tournament would likely be held in a city where each team can occupy its own hotel. There wouldn't be any tickets; these games would play to empty arenas.

Masks Required

You’ll likely see masks on umpires, referees, and coaches. In sports that allow for it, assistant coaches over 65 could coach from a box in the upper level like they do in football.

Solo Sports

Sports where athletes don't interact with other participants are likely to get greenlighted to resume sooner than team sports. Horseracing was allowed to resume in early May. Even for solo sports, no fans will not be allowed in the stands to watch.

CelebrationsOn Hold

High fives will be a thing of the past for now, as will celebrating with a group of friends. Because social distancing rules will require people who are not in the same household to stay away from each other, celebrating victories and pregame riuals will need to be done in small groups or virtually for the time being.