What’s Up with US Sports?

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While the NRL and AFL are set to return, albeit without fans in the stands, what about US sports?

We’re all fired up about The Last Dance, but when will we get to see LeBron and Ben Simmons?

What about the NFL? We saw a fascinating virtual draft but will Joe Burrow actually hit the field in a Bengals’ jersey?

There is still much uncertainty with deals between players’ unions and the leagues – particularly in Major League Baseball – which is throwing up some real sticking points like free agency and player payments.

And of course, there are the health concerns like how will testing procedures for COVID-19 work?

Another potential problem could stem from the varying restrictions imposed by individual states. California and Washington state, for example, are much more stringent than Florida and Arizona in terms of loosening social and economic guidelines.

Here’s a quick guide on the status of US sports.

NBA

Currently: Each team has played between 64-67 regular season games (of 82).

What: No decision yet, but the league is said to be leaning towards a 16-team tournament (out of 30) based on current standings in a ‘bubble’ environment.

Where: Orlando or Las Vegas.

When: Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated that a decision could be made in the next two weeks.

Markets: Betting suspended, markets up once a decision is made.

 

NHL

Currently: Each team has played between 68-71 regular season games (of 82 total).

What: 24-team playoff (of 30) which, unlike the NBA, would include some teams still fighting for playoff spots.

Where: There have been discussions around various hub cities but the number of hubs and teams is still being discussed.

When: Unknown. The NHL has been quiet through most of this process, though Commissioner Gary Bettman has made it clear he wants to find a way to finish this season.

Markets: Betting suspended, markets up once a decision is made.

MLS

Currently: Each team has played 2 regular season games (of 34).

What: Tournament involving all 26 teams in some sort of group-based, round-robin competition.

Where: Orlando, Florida

When: Teams potentially begin training in Orlando June 1, with the tournament three or four weeks afterward.

Markets: Suspended at the moment.

 

MLB

Currently: Regular season has not started.

What: The most confusing of all leagues, since the season never got underway. Unlikely to have a playoff format like the NBA and NHL have proposed, so the question is, how do they fit in some semblance of a full season?

Where: Unknown. Arizona as a base was one plan originally put forward, but it appears that is no longer in play. Certain states are more flexible than others; for example, California is being ultra conservative in terms of re-opening, so how would that affect the state’s five teams?

When: Unknown. There has been talk about a July 4 opening day to coincide with the Independence Day holiday.

Markets: There are World Series and other MLB markets here.

NFL

Currently: New season not scheduled to start until September, 2020.

What: Planning to go ahead with the regular season as per normal, but much of it is dependent on the spread of COVID-19, testing plans and the individual states and their regulations.

Where: Planning to be at individual home stadiums.

When: September?

Markets: There are markets on NFL and college football here.

 

NCAA Football

Currently: New season would normally start in late August, 2020, but university presidents and athletic directors are currently assessing the situation.

What: Much depends on whether or not schools themselves will be open when football starts. Athletic departments are heavily dependent on football for finances, so not playing would have major repercussions on all college sports, both men’s and women’s.

Where: Planning to play at individual stadiums, but again it will depend on schools, conferences and state laws.

When: August? There have even been proposals to play a Spring schedule, starting in March, 2021.

Markets: There are markets on NFL and college football here.

 

What do you think?