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Sports Came Back in 2020. Now Comes the Hard Part.

  • October 25, 2020

Resorting to bubbles seems unrealistic for an entire season. And going without ticket sales and all the money from overpriced hot dogs, beer, T-shirts and parking has produced plenty of deep red balance sheets.

The N.H.L., which should now be in the third week of the 2020-21 season, is targeting a Jan. 1 start date, but has yet to post a schedule, as the U.S.-Canadian border remains closed. On Thursday, the league announced it was postponing its All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, an outdoor game scheduled for New Year’s Day.

The Lakers won the N.B.A. championship on Oct. 11, ending a season less than two weeks before the next one would normally start. League officials have yet to say when play will resume.

“We will react to the state-of-the-art science,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “I can’t say when, but I can say that whatever we do we will do with safety being our top priority.”

Casey Wasserman, the owner of a sports marketing and talent firm who has close relationships with the leaders of several leagues, said he was confident the N.H.L. and the N.B.A. would aim to start their seasons by early winter, perhaps with slightly shorter schedules of roughly 70 games, and to complete their playoffs in June, as usual, so they can return to normal schedules for the 2021-22 season.

Major League Soccer is considering starting sometime in April rather than in early March. The W.N.B.A. played 22 regular-season games this year instead of 34, as in 2019, but it ended at roughly the same time, putting less pressure on scheduling for next year.

Where allowed, teams will admit spectators in limited numbers, as some N.F.L. teams have done. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are playing the World Series at a neutral stadium in Arlington, Texas, that is about 25 percent full.

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