Next month, professional sports will begin its comeback from this COVID-19 lockdown. Here is the information you need to know regarding the return of each professional league. As a quick note, this blog will be focusing on American sports only. Let us begin!
PGA – GOLF
Golf is the first sport to return. All tournaments will be spectator free until the virus dissipates. At the current moment, the PGA tour is beginning its third tournament (The Travelers Championship) since the restart.
ATP & WTA – TENNIS
The Women’s Tour (WTA) has announced its resumption with a tournament in Palermo, Italy on August 3rd. The Men’s Tour (ATP) has not announced a comeback. Per their website, the ATP is still under suspension till July 31st. Pay attention to www.atptour.com for more details.
NLL – LACROSSE
Many people probably do not know that Lacrosse has its own professional league. It has been around longer than the MLS in the United States and mostly focuses on the Northeast/New England section of our country. Locally, we have the San Diego Seals who were added to the league in 2017. COVID-19 caused the NLL to cancel the remainder of their season, the only team sport that succumbed to this viral outbreak.
MLS – AMERICAN SOCCER
One of the most intriguing resumption plans belongs to the MLS. They are coming back with a shortened season that resembles a World Cup like tournament. All 26 teams are broken down into six groups with round robin play inside of the groups. Once complete, the top 16 teams will advance to the Knock Out Round with the championship being played on August 11th.
NHL – HOCKEY
The NHL regular season has ended and play will resume with a 24 team playoff. The postseason is broken into two aspects. There will be a qualifying round where the 5 through 12 seeds will play Best of Five matchups to qualify for the regular postseason knockout rounds. The top four seeds in each conference will play a three-game round robin that will determine the number 1 through 4 seeds when the postseason is officially set. Once the playoffs are set, it will default to the normal 16 team, seven game series knockout system. There will be a few “hub” cities where every game will be played. No word on the exact date for resumption but it appears to be at the end of July as they go through their "Phased" re-opening.
NBA – BASKETBALL
The NBA will resume play on July 31st. Every team within playoff contention will be allowed to participate (22 teams in total). Regular season records will be respected. Eight games will be played which will determine the playoff seeding (Teams will end up playing between 71 to 75 games). The top 7 seeds will advance to the playoffs. The eighth seed will only qualify if they are four games or more up on the ninth seed in each conference. If this is not the case, there will be a possible two game play-in. The eighth seed only needs to win one game to advance to the playoffs. For the ninth seed to qualify, they will need to beat the eighth seed twice to become the last playoff participant. Once the playoffs begin, they will default to the normal 16 team, seven game series knockout tournament system. All games will be played in empty stadiums around the Orlando, Florida area.
MLB – BASEBALL
Baseball has decided to start with a shortened 60 game season. Each team will get home and home series versus division foes and 20 games against the opposite league’s corresponding regional divisions. Play will resume on either July 23rd or 24th. Once this shortened season ends, baseball will have its normal postseason (Five teams in each league, one game wild card game). There were discussions of an expansion to 16 teams for the playoffs, but this was voted down by the players.
NFL – AMERICAN FOOTBALL
There are no changes planned for the NFL season other than social distancing measures and the possibility of games being played in empty stadiums. The NFL will start on time with a Thursday night matchup on September 10th.
The hardest aspect of this lockdown for me has been the suspension of professional sports. Being forced to work remote and live under one roof with my family is something I have always wanted. It is too bad that we needed a deadly virus to sweep across the world before this dream could be realized. Now that things are slowly starting to return to normal, it is time to embrace our long-standing cultural customs again.
EXPERT OF SOME