The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have dampened any hope for sports returning next month after the agency recommended that all events of 50 or more people be canceled for eight weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Another eight weeks would mean pushing the beginning of the 2020 MLB season to May and canceling the rest of the regular season for the NBA and the NHL. The MLS would also lose about a quarter of its 2020 season. The NCAA already decided to cancel college athletics for the spring before the CDC put out its guidelines Sunday.
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities, but also by individuals,” the CDC said in a statement.
“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
According to ESPN, NBA owners believe the league could return in mid-to-late June and play with no fans through August.
MLB's Opening Day was slated for next week, but the league shut down spring training operations and sent players home. According to the New York Post, MLB doesn't know when it will receive clearance to start its season.
The NFL's new league year begins Wednesday. It is reportedly still expected to go on as scheduled despite rumors of it being pushed back.
An NHL team physician told ESPN they don’t believe the coronavirus spread will subside until June, putting the Stanley Cup playoffs in question. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week the goal is to resume play at the earliest chance.