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President Trump is confident that the NFL season will begin on time despite growing concern that the spread of the coronavirus might derail the schedule early on, according to a new report.
Trump revealed his optimism during a conference call with 12 major sports commissioners and top executives on Saturday, sources familiar with the call told ESPN.
The president reportedly added that he hopes for fans to be back in the stands as early as August and September, although it was not immediately clear if this timetable was based on the recommendations of medical experts.
Sources told ESPN that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared his hopes to be the first league to lead the way in restarting the economy once public health officials give the “all clear,” as the NBA was also the first to suspend the season on March 11.
The call comes just after reports revealed that the NBA was “angling” a possible deal that would enable them to “shut the season down” as the growing number of COVID-19 cases begins to cast doubt on a possible return in the next few weeks.
The financial toll will also have a significant impact, something Trump hopes to alleviate. According to the report, he suggested the leagues work together to lobby for tax credits such as deducting concessions and tickets from taxes.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, UFC President Dana White and WWE Chairman and Ceo Vince McMahon were among those also on the call.