The coronavirus pandemic around the world has caused major disruption to many sports around the globe.
In America, major team sports are getting ready to start up once again, although these are likely to be played behind closed doors with no fans present.
Major League Baseball and the players union reached an agreement with a 1st July date for the reopening of training camps, and a 60-game schedule set for July 23rd or 24th, almost four months behind schedule.
The league is set to resume with teams in their home ballparks as opposed to a one site bubble. The 60-game season will be the shortest in the sport’s modern-day history, followed by a post-season.
The NBA’s board approved a plan to resume their season in July with 22 teams playing and being housed in the Disney sports complex near Orlando. The restart will happen on July 30th and continue through to October, with all games played with no fans present.
The two divisions will be split with nine sides playing in the Eastern Conference and 13 featuring in the Western Conference.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games in order to determine playoff positioning in both conferences, with the play-offs following the usual best of seven series through to the finals.
For the first time ever, the league held its draft back in April by video call, with the regular-season schedule announced to start on September 10th. Team facilities have been opened, although as it stands players haven’t as yet returned back to them.
It is also very optimistic that on the return of the sport, fans will be allowed back into the stadiums, albeit with a reduced capacity of around 50 per cent, although this will depend on each states policy of social distancing.
The NHL announced recently that training camps will open on July 10th, with the season planning to return with 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup on a date to be confirmed.
The tournament will begin with the Stanley Cup qualifiers, which will consist of 16 teams playing eight best of five series and a round-robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeds for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The NHL paused its regular season on March 12th due to concerns about Covid-19 and announced its remaining 189 games would not be completed. The 12 qualifying teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences were determined by points percentage as of that date, with seven teams missing out.
The qualifiers will be held in two cities, as yet to be revealed.
In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will each have a bye and play each other once to determine the order of the top four seeds for the first round of the playoffs.
The four best of five series of qualifiers in the Eastern Conference will see Pittsburgh against Montreal, Carolina against New York Rangers, New York Islanders against Florida and Toronto against Columbus.
In the Western Conference, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas will each have a bye, with Edmonton playing Chicago, Nashville up against Arizona, Vancouver against Minnesota and Calgary facing Winnipeg in the qualifiers.
It’s been a long wait for both American and British fans who love their American sports action, but as they say all good things come to those that wait, and it’s getting awfully close when once again we can see American Football, Ice Hockey, Baseball and Basketball live on our screens in our front rooms once again.
This article was written exclusively for golear.co.uk.