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Fan Free Sports in California Until 2021? MLB Start in Texas?

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:
Apr/22/2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom does not see a scenario any time soon when fans can crowd sporting events in the state until the current coronavirus pandemic is brought under control.  And that might not happen until a vaccine is available.


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Gov. Newsom does talk about the strategies that will be targeted as some restrictions are lifted (think testing and tracing), but he has been resolute for weeks now on the idea of “normal” operations (which is what fans at sporting events would be) not returning until there is either a vaccine, herd immunity, and/or a highly-effective and widely-available medical treatment. Given what we know about vaccine timelines (early next year is believed to be the most optimistic (but realistic) period), given that herd immunity likely will not be reached before the vaccine is widely distributed, and given that treatment options are still up in the air, it is impossible to imagine fan-attended baseball in California this year, and probably football this fall.

What does that mean for the NFL? Would they play without fans (or at least in California)? What does it mean for college football and college basketball? Can they even survive a year without fans? And what does it mean for other college sports that depend on the revenue generated by football and basketball for their own survival? I hope the involved bodies start having those conversations ASAP and come up with plans to preserve their teams/institutions/other sports until next year.

Leagues have to take fan-free plans seriously at this point – it may be the only way to have sports this year at all, and that, in turn, may be critical to the state of those industries (and the tens of thousands of team employees, adjacent businesses, student athletes, professors, etc.) this time next year.

If games were to be played in Texas, they would be played in the new Globe Life Field and surrounding minor league parks in the Arlington, Texas area. Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, could also host games in Houston.

The Texas Governor, Gregg Abbott, has been trying to get sports to return to his state and he would likely be all in on this proposal.

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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