Rebuilding America: Getting back to work in Arizona for pro and college sports teams is a work in progress. Here’s what fans need to know.
Getting back to work in Arizona for pro and college sports teams is a work in progress. Right down the line, leagues are waiting for guidance from government and health officials before any semblance of normal activity resumes. As the sports year heads for June, here’s what fans need to know:
— Games, but no fans. It started with UFC and NASCAR. The PGA Tour resumes June 11 in Texas. But even as sports return, there are no concrete plans in place, short or long term, for allowing spectators to attend events. For now, “sports bubbles” restricted to competitors, support staff and other necessary personnel will be the norm. However, by the time some of Arizona’s premier events – the Cardinals season, the NASCAR Cup championship race – it’s possible some limited fan attendance could be allowed.
— Ready for some football? The Cardinals’ first scheduled home game in 2020 is a preseason matchup against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs sometime during the third week of August, with the official season opener set for Sept. 13 at the San Francisco 49ers. That is, if the state of California allows the resumption of pro sports. Still TBD. The NFL pushed back the start of in-person workouts to at least the end of May, so the scheduling timetable could still be in flux.
— Play ball! Major League Baseball, which was supposed to open the season in late March, has its eyes on a July 4 Opening Day to start an 82-game season. The Diamondbacks, who at various times over the past two months were linked to all sorts of scenarios ranging from being part of a plan to bring every MLB team to Arizona for the season, to having to share Chase Field with other clubs, are standing by to help get baseball back in whatever format winds up winning the day. Right now, the hope is to open some sort of preseason training in early- to mid-June. Good news for Diamondbacks fans – the projected playoff field would be expanded from 10 to 14 teams.
— Campus concerns. Arizona State and Arizona have said they plan to open campuses for the fall semester. That suggests that college sports will also return, in some form. Restrictions are beginning to ease in the states that comprise the Pac-12 Conference, but there are still many hurdles. For example, Los Angeles County will keep stay-at-home orders in place through July, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti last month said he doubted sporting events or concerts would return to his city before 2021.
Mark Faller is sports editor of the Arizona…
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