This is where sports leagues stand out in their plans to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

Baseball and women’s basketball have started, hockey and basketball will return this week, and the football season is just over a month away.

Their restarts have broad similarities. All professional leagues decided to drastically restrict or openly ban fan attendance, focusing instead on the television audience at home. All of them will repeatedly test players and staff for infections during the season.

They diverge more sharply on where the games will take place. Usually, sports with smaller roster sizes (NBA, NHL) are played in “bubbles”, isolated from the outside community, while Sports with bigger rosters (NFL, MLB) are playing in their regular stadiums and traveling between cities.

This is where each league stands in its bid to return to games.


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When: Major League Baseball began its season on July 23, months after its regular start in April. The plan is to play a 60-game season that leads to an expanded playoff from September 29 to the end of October.

Where: The games will take place in the regular stadiums of the teams, without the assistance of fans.

The Toronto Blue Jays, the only Canadian team in the league, will play in Buffalo because the Canadian government did not approve of their plan to continually cross borders.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday that celebrating the season in a “bubble” would not have worked because MLB has great teams and wants to celebrate a 60-game season.

“The duration would have been much longer, and the longer you spend, the more people you have, the less likely you are to be able to make the bubble work,” he said.

Rule changes: MLB made changes to the sport itself, as well as the traditions that surround it.

In terms of play, the National League will use a designated hitter, and additional innings now start with a runner automatically in the second. The rosters have been expanded to account for potential infections, and the playoffs have been expanded to 16 teams.

Also, hugs and hugs are discouraged and spitting is prohibited, that beloved baseball hobby.
Actual state: Just days after its restart, more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff tested positive for coronavirus, pressuring MLB to postpone several games and raising questions about its plans. All games on the Marlins’ schedule have been postponed until Sunday, MLB announced Tuesday.

Manfred played down the severity of the outbreak and said they had incorporated protocols for such an occurrence.

“I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” he said. “Obviously we don’t want any player to be exposed. It’s not a positive thing. But I don’t see it as a nightmare. We created the protocols to allow us to keep playing.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday on “Good Morning America” ​​that baseball has yet to stop its season.

“You just have to see this. This could put him in danger. I don’t think they have to stop, but we just have to follow this and see what happens to other teams day by day,” Fauci said.


When: The National Football League begins training camps this week and plans to start its season at normal time in the second week of September. All preseason games were canceled.
Where: The games will take place in the regular stadiums of the teams across the country. It is still unclear if fans will be able to attend, but if they do they will have to wear face covers.
Rule changes: Overall, the NFL hasn’t changed much. The locker rooms have been reconfigured to accommodate social distancing, and players will be screened before arriving at training camp and then consistently throughout the season. Up to 80 players will be allowed in team formation at a time.

Still, the sport itself, big men bumping into each other game after game after game, remains the same.

Actual state: Dr. Allen Sills, NFL medical director and neurosurgeon, said he expected a “large number” of coronavirus cases during testing this week when training camp begins.

“First of all, we hope to have positive cases. We would love it if we didn’t,” Sills told CNN. “But if you look at the state of the pandemic right now, I think that when all the players get together, we can expect a lot of positive cases.”
In June, Dr. Fauci said he was skeptical about the NFL’s ability to celebrate a season without an isolated bubble.

“Unless the players are essentially in a bubble, cut off from the community and trying them on almost every day, it would be very difficult to see how football can be played this fall,” he said. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”


When: After closing in March, the NBA season resumes the Thursday before the playoffs from August 17 to October.
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Where: All games will be played in a bubble at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Players will live, practice and play within the bubble. Fans cannot attend.

Rule changes: Only 22 teams will play again. Each team will play eight regular season games before the seed playoffs begin. The NBA also added a possible play-in tournament for the eighth and final seed, but the playoffs will continue normally.

Actual state: On time. Scrimmages started last week. The NBA also said last week that there were no positive Covid-19 test results from the 346 players evaluated since July 13.


New York Liberty forward Sabrina Ionescu pushes the ball across the court during a WNBA game Saturday in Florida.
When: The WNBA began its season on Saturday and plans to celebrate a 22-game season followed by a regular playoff format.

Where: All games take place in a bubble at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. There are no fans present.

Rule changes: Players had to be quarantined before entering the bubble and will be evaluated throughout the season. Otherwise, the rules are the same as always.

Actual state: The season started successfully on Saturday and since then no player in the bubble has tested positive for coronavirus.


A lone skater launches onto the ice on March 12 in Washington, DC.

When: After closing in March, the National Hockey League holds its first exhibition game on Tuesday afternoon, leading to an extended playoff.

Where: The games will be held in separate “centers” in Canada, away from the public. The Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, while the Western Conference teams will play in Edmonton. The conference finals and the Stanley Cup final will be held in Edmonton.

Rule changes: The top four teams from each conference will play a round-robin series to decide the playoff rankings starting August 2. The other 16 teams will play in a “qualifying round” starting August 1 to decide who makes the playoffs.

From there, the first round of the playoffs begins on August 11 and lasts until October 4 at the latest.

Actual state: On time. The NHL said Monday that there were no positive tests for Covid-19 among the 4,256 tests administered to more than 800 players from July 18 to 25.


When and where: The PGA Tour canceled several golf tournaments in March and April, but restarted its season in June and is preparing for its elders.

The PGA Championship will take place from August 6 to 9 in San Francisco, the US Open will take place from September 17 to 20 in Mamaroneck, New York, and The Masters will take place from 12 to 15 November in Augusta, Georgia.

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Rule changes: Players and caddies are subject to testing during a tournament week, ESPN reports. Due to that test, international players can now come to the United States and compete in tournaments without quarantine, the PGA Tour said.
Actual state: Several golfers have tested positive for coronavirus since it was resumed in June, but the individual nature of the sport and the outdoor environment have so far prevented a widespread outbreak among players or staff.


When: Tennis planned to restart its season with the Citi Open tournament on August 14 in Washington DC, but the event was canceled. Instead, the US Open, one of the most important events in tennis, will take place from August 31.

Where: The US Open for Men and Women will be held in New York at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It will be immediately preceded by the Western & Southern Open at the same site, USTA said.

Rule changes: No fans will be allowed on site. The men’s and women’s doubles events will also be smaller, with 32 teams instead of 64.

“To mitigate risk, we must minimize the numbers on the site,” Stacey Allaster, executive director of professional tennis for the USTA and recently named director of the US Open tournament, said in a statement.

Actual state: On the way, for now, although the cancellation of the Citi Open offers warnings about the possibility of holding the US Open.


When: Major League Soccer returned with its “MLS is Back” tournament earlier this month. The group stage began on July 8, and the 16-team knockout tournament began last Saturday and continues through to the championship game on August 11.

Black MLS players raise gloved fists in protest of racial justice before game one

Where: All games are held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Rule changes: All teams traveled to Orlando and were evaluated after arrival and for the remainder of the tournament. Team members on the bench must wear masks and social distance, and players are asked not to exchange jerseys with other players or kiss the ball.

Actual state: In progress. Two teams, FC Dallas and Nashville, do not participate in the tournament due to outbreaks of coronavirus. The tournament is currently finishing its first round and advancing to the quarterfinals on July 30.