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Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports | SportNews

Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports


As the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread around the globe in recent months, tournaments, games and other sporting events have been canceled, while others have been modified. On Wednesday night, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, and the NBA season was subsequently suspended. Spring training is canceled, and the start of the MLB season has been delayed at least two weeks. The NHL has also suspended play immediately.

Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports

As fears mount, there is talk of modifications to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the sports world grapples with how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a look at how the coronavirus is affecting sports in the U.S. and around the world:

  • List of sporting events canceled because of coronavirus

  • From FiveThirtyEight: How sports leagues are reacting to coronavirus


  • March 12: Sources: Mitchell second Jazz player with virus: Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

  • March 11: NBA suspends season: The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. Jazz and Thunder players are quarantined at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

  • March 11: Oklahoma City Thunder-Utah Jazz game postponed: Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before tipoff.

  • March 11: Warriors to play next home game without fans: The Golden State Warriors will play Thursday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets with no fans inside Chase Center amid an order with the City and County of San Francisco. The Warriors are not scheduled to play at Chase Center again until March 25.

  • March 11: NIH director recommends NBA close out fans from games: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a congressional committee Wednesday that he would recommend the NBA not allow fans at games in response to the coronavirus.

  • March 11: Could the NBA move games? The NBA has mulled moving games from a city with a large coronavirus cluster to the away opponent’s arena if that city hasn’t suffered an outbreak, or possibly neutral cities and sites. The NBA’s board of governors has a conference call with the NBA commissioner’s office Wednesday.

  • March 10: LeBron will “listen” if NBA bars fans over virus: LeBron James said he would be “very disappointed” if the NBA decided to play games without fans in response to the coronavirus crisis, but admitted he would “listen” to the league if that’s what it decided to do.

  • March 9: Locker room access at NBA games to be limited: The NBA plans to dramatically curb access to players in locker rooms, which means limiting access to what the NBA considers to be nonessential team personnel.

  • March 9: NBA books conference call to discuss coronavirus strategy: The NBA has scheduled a conference call with team owners and governors to discuss next steps in the growing coronavirus crisis, league sources told ESPN.

  • March 2: Fist-bumps among short-term recommendations as NBA plots coronavirus strategy, memo says: Among the NBA’s short-term recommendations to teams in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, players should utilize fist-bumps over high-fives with fans and avoid taking items such as pens, balls and jerseys to autograph, according to a memo to teams obtained by ESPN.

World football

UEFA via Getty Images

  • March 12: U.S. Soccer cancels upcoming friendlies: U.S. Soccer has canceled the upcoming Men’s and Women’s Senior National Team matches in March and April.

  • March 12: Champions League games canceled: The UEFA has postponed the Champions League round-of-16 second leg games scheduled for next Tuesday: Manchester City against Real Madrid and Juventus against Lyon.

  • March 12: MLS postponed for 30 days; USMNT, USWNT friendlies canceled: Major League Soccer has announced it is suspending its season for 30 days. The U.S. Soccer Federation has moved to cancel games for both the men’s and women’s teams.

  • March 12: Leicester City trio in self-isolation after showing symptoms: Manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed that three unnamed Leicester City players are in self-isolation after showing coronavirus symptoms.

  • March 12: La Liga suspended over coronavirus after Real Madrid players quarantined: The decision comes after Real Madrid were placed into quarantine and all activity at their training complex was canceled after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive.

  • March 12: Real Madrid quarantined after positive coronavirus test: Real confirmed that they had quarantined the team after a member of the basketball team tested positive for coronavirus.

  • March 11: Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes games postponed: Major League Soccer has postponed games for both the Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes.

  • March 11: Europa League fixtures between Roma-Sevilla, Inter Milan-Getafe postponed: The Europa League round-of-16 ties between Roma and Sevilla and Inter Milan versus Getafe have been postponed.

  • March 10: Premier League matchup Arsenal vs. Man City postponed: Arsenal’s Premier League match Wednesday against Manchester City has been postponed after a number of the squad made “close contact” with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis two weeks ago.

  • March 10: La Liga to be played behind closed doors for two weeks: Top-flight football in Spain will be played behind closed doors for at least the next two weeks with the ban on supporters attending games also extending to the country’s second division.

  • March 10: Guardiola: Cancel Premier League games over coronavirus: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he would rather suspend fixtures than play behind closed doors in response to coronavirus.

  • March 9: Serie A, all sport in Italy halted due to coronavirus: All sports in Italy were halted because of the coronavirus outbreak, including games in Serie A and preparatory events for the Tokyo Olympics.


  • March 12: ATP shuts down events for six weeks: The ATP has suspended all men’s professional tennis tournaments for six weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • March 8: BNP Paribas Open won’t be played because of coronavirus: The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament has been called off after a case of the new coronavirus was confirmed in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.


  • March 12: Conference tournaments are canceled: The Power 5 leagues — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 — have all canceled their conference tournaments, the leagues announced Thursday. The American, Atlantic 10, Conference USA, MAC, American East, Big Sky, MAAC and WAC also all cancelled their tournaments. The NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments are still scheduled to take place without fans.

  • March 11: Major conference basketball tournaments to proceed without fans: The Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic Conference and Southland basketball tournaments will proceed without fans beginning with Thursday’s games, following the lead of the NCAA tournament in barring anybody but family and essential personnel.

  • March 11: Michigan, Ohio State cancel spring games: The Big 10 rivals are among the programs that have canceled their annual spring football games, as schools around the country continue to strategize around the coronavirus outbreak.

  • March 11: NCAA tournament will be played without fans: The NCAA made the unprecedented decision to hold the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

  • March 11: Ohio to issue order preventing fans at “mass gatherings”: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will soon issue an order preventing fans from attending “mass gatherings,” which will impact the NCAA’s First Four next week at Dayton Arena, and first- and second-round games in Cleveland.

  • March 11: Ivy League cancels all spring sports: The Ivy League is canceling all spring sports for the 2019-20 school year. The decision of the member university presidents was unanimous.

  • March 11: 2020 College Basketball Invitational canceled: The 2020 College Basketball Invitational, created in the 2007-08 season, has been canceled and will resume in 2021. The CBI selects 16 teams that are not picked for the NCAA tournament or NIT.

  • March 11: USC bans fans from all home athletic events: In response to the coronavirus outbreak, fans will be unable to attend home athletic events at USC starting Wednesday and continuing through March 29.

  • March 10: Big West to play its tournaments without fans: The Big West will play its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this week without fans. The women’s tournament began Tuesday night on Long Beach State’s campus and both tournaments will be played at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on Thursday-Saturday.

  • March 10: MAC tournament to go on without fans: Hours after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended Tuesday that sporting events at indoor facilities in the state take place without spectators, the Mid-American Conference announced a “restricted attendance policy” for its men’s and women’s postseason tournaments in Cleveland, closing both events to the general public.

  • March 10: Ivy League cancels conference basketball tournaments: Neither the men’s or women’s Ivy League conference tournaments, which were scheduled to be played in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will take place this year. Yale will receive the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA men’s tournament, while Princeton will receive the automatic bid for the NCAA women’s tournament.

  • March 4: Chicago State hoops team not traveling: The Chicago State men’s basketball team will not travel for two regularly scheduled Western Athletic Conference games this week, and its women’s team will not host two games, the school said, citing the spread of the coronavirus.

  • March 4: UMKC won’t play in Seattle: The University of Missouri-Kansas City will not play its road game at Seattle due to concerns over the coronavirus, the WAC announced.

Olympic sports

Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP via Getty Images

  • March 12: FINA postpones Olympic water sports qualifying events: The events postponed include the men’s water polo qualification competition, the Diving World Series and the Water Polo World League.

  • March 12: Kenya bars athletes from global travel over coronavirus worries: Kenya has yet to declare a case of coronavirus but the athletics association said it was taking these steps as a precautionary measure.

  • March 11: World Figure Skating Championships canceled: The World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal have been canceled due to public health concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus.

  • March 11: Tokyo Olympic president dismisses comments about delaying 2020 Games: Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said a board member who said the 2020 Games should be delayed a year or two because of the coronavirus has apologized and the games are going forward as planned in July.

  • March 10: The International Judo Federation cancels all Olympic qualifying events through April: Qualifying events in Russia, Georgia and Turkey have been canceled, with the federation saying it wants to keep athletes “safe.”

  • March 9: Fans banned from Tokyo 2020 torch-lighting ceremony in Greece: For the first time since the 1984 Olympics, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia will be held without spectators. Greece’s Olympic Committee said spectators would be excluded from both the dress rehearsal Wednesday and the ceremony Thursday.

  • March 6: Tokyo organizers held a spectator-less test event: Most sporting events and large gatherings in Tokyo have been canceled, but a climbing event on Friday took place with no fans and no top athletes. Instead, amateurs tested the climbing facility.

  • March 4: The International Olympic Committee says 2020 Olympics are going forward: After an executive board meeting in Switzerland, the IOC remains steadfast in Tokyo going forward as planned on July 24.

  • March 3: Coronavirus and the Tokyo Olympics: A lot of questions, few answers: The IOC wants the 2020 Olympics to go forward as planned, but the unknown nature of the coronavirus puts that in doubt.


  • March 12: MLB expected to suspend operations: Sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan that MLB is expected to suspend baseball operations indefinitely. Sources also told Passan that the start of the regular season is expected to be pushed back. The league’s owners will hold a conference call Thursday afternoon to formalize the plan.

  • March 12: California order on gatherings of 250-plus could affect MLB games: California on Wednesday recommended a statewide limit on large gatherings through at least the remainder of March, bringing into question the home openers of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres.

  • March 11: Mariners won’t play games in Seattle in March: The Mariners will move home games out of Seattle through the end of March, following the state of Washington’s decision to ban large group events as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.


Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

  • March 12: ​NHL suspending play immediately: The NHL has suspended its season due to the rapid spread of coronavirus but hopes to resume in the future, sources told ESPN Thursday.

  • March 10: ​Sharks might host games without fans: The San Jose Sharks might play home games in an empty arena after Santa Clara County, California, banned mass gatherings.

  • March 9: Santa Clara County bans gatherings of 1,000-plus: Following the first death in San Jose, there are now serious doubts about the status of three San Jose Sharks hockey games, the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Stanford University and one MLS game. The county announced a ban of all large gatherings of at least 1,000 people for the rest of March.

  • March 5: Sharks to play despite concerns: The San Jose Sharks are playing their home game against the Minnesota Wild despite a recommendation from Santa Clara County to “cancel mass gatherings” as the coronavirus spreads.

  • March 4: NHL limiting employee travel: The NHL is not allowing its employees to make work-related trips outside of North America in response to the global fears over the coronavirus.

  • March 2: NHL looking at plans if coronavirus spreads: The NHL is “starting to explore contingency plans” should the coronavirus become a more significant health threat in North America ahead of the 2019-20 NHL playoffs, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.


  • March 12: NFL not delaying start of league year: The NFL said it has “no plans to move the start of the league year” as a result of the coronavirus crisis but the annual meeting beginning March 29 has been canceled.


  • March 5: Worker at XFL game has coronavirus: A stadium employee who worked at the XFL’s Seattle Dragons home game Feb. 22 at CenturyLink Field has tested positive for the coronavirus.


  • A full list of esports cancellations

  • March 12: LCS, LEC to play games without an audience: The LCS and LEC announced Thursday that spectators and the media will not be able to attend games because of the coronavirus crisis.

  • March 11: All remaining Overwatch League events in March and April: Activision-Blizzard Esports has canceled all remaining Overwatch League events in March and April, the developer announced Wednesday.


  • March 4: WrestleMania 36 plans continue amid coronavirus: The WWE is planning to move forward with WrestleMania 36 in Tampa, Florida, despite multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus in the area.

Formula One

  • March 12: McLaren withdraws from Australian GP after positive coronavirus test: The British team tested a staff member who was found to have the coronavirus.

  • March 12: 11,000 sign online petition to cancel Australian Grand Prix: Doubt continues to surround the season-opening Formula One race as an online petition to cancel it garnered 11,000 signatures.

  • March 12: Hamilton shocked Australian GP going ahead: Lewis Hamilton said “cash is king” when asked why the race was going ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic.

  • March 10: Members of F1 paddock tested for the coronavirus: At least three members of the Formula One paddock have been tested for the coronavirus and have entered self-isolation on the eve of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

  • March 9: Australian Grand Prix plans to continue with fans in attendance: The season-opening Formula One race in Melbourne will proceed as planned this week, and there is “no chance” fans will be excluded because of the coronavirus fears.

  • March 8: Bahrain Grand Prix to take place behind closed doors: The Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix will be restricted to participants only and no fans will be allowed to attend, due to coronavirus concerns.


  • March 11: European Tour postpones Indian Open: The European Tour has decided to postpone the Indian Open, which was due to take place March 19-22.

  • March 10: PGA Tour has no plans to cancel events: PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said that the tour has no plans to cancel upcoming events, including the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, on March 25-29.


  • March 12: NASCAR says next two races on, but no fans: Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the March 22 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway are among the events that will be “restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race,” NASCAR said in a statement Thursday.

Source: espn.com

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