In potential signals in return to play for major sports leagues, the largest states in the U.S. have announced tentative plans to permit sporting events without fans, including California (June 1), Texas, and New York.
Those states are Nos. 1, 2, and 4 among the most populous in the U.S. Florida, the No. 3 most populous state, and Arizona (No. 14) have already given sports facilities a green light, potentially signaling for baseball to reopen its spring training for a summer return to baseball.
Baseball and its players union are currently negotiating a labor agreement under the plan of playing in stadiums without fans, and therefore far less revenue.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday his state plans to open up in a few weeks provided "we hold these trend lines."
"Sporting events, pro sports, in that first week or so of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions also can begin to move forward," Newsom said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has asked the major sports teams in his state to prepare to reopen without fans.
"New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that," he said during his daily news conference at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. "Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen, we're a ready, willing and able partner."
New York City had been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic for months, with more than 15,000 deaths related to the virus, per NYC.gov. The state, however, has seen a steady decline in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths.
The majority of the sports world ground to a halt in March amid the pandemic, however NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball are mulling their options for resuming their seasons.
The NFL released its 2020 season schedule earlier this month with the hope of starting in September as usual.
"Personal disclosure I want to watch the Buffalo Bills, but I'm still objective. I'm acting as governor. There's no personal agenda here," Cuomo said. "This is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the state of New York."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced later Monday his state "is prepared to move into Phase 2 for further reopening of business."
While Abbott cited May 31 as a target date, the Lone Star State is expected to serve as the host for The Genesys 600 NTT IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6 and the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11-14 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. Both events will be held without fans in attendance.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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