Governor Cuomo on New York Sports Return: “Why Not?”

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Amongst many things that New York is famous for around the world are its sports franchises.  NFL teams such as the Giants or Buffalo Bills, the NBA’s Knicks, the New York Yankees and many more sports teams that have a fan base that extends not only across America, but around the world.

With the Coronavirus pandemic hitting major sports all around, many are looking into options on how to resume leagues and seasons that have been suspended amid public safety concerns.  One of the options that are being considered as the first step of resuming sports is to hold competitions and games without fans.

Even in normal times, many fans would take part in the action remotely, watching the games on TV, or downloading a sports-betting mobile app that will enable them to check odds, place bets on games and watch events on live streaming through their mobile betting app for example.  Still, a stadium without fans will be an entirely-different experience for players, fans and remote viewers alike.      

One public official that is also amongst the millions of American sports fans who is missing the excitement and action these days is New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo.  In his talks to the press during his daily briefings, Cuomo said in the weekend that he’s all for professional sports to resume in Buffalo, the Big Apple and all across the Empire State. 

The governor confirmed that he has been in touch with various team owners and executives, and he acknowledged the huge challenges sports franchises are facing because of the loss of revenues with the sports shutdown.  Cuomo believes that playing in a different setting, even without fans is still better than not playing at all. 

In a recent interview, Cuomo asserted that he doesn’t have the answers, and he expects the sports teams to think out of the box and come up with their own ideas and plans.  But he still sounded keen on backing them up.  “I don’t know.  If you can make economics work without ticket sales and have television revenues,” the governor said.  “We are in a different place. Be creative and figure it out.” 

Another way to generate revenues for the community and teams through sports is with sports betting, which is already legal in several states, including New York’s neighbouring New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  In Cuomo’s state, a bill regulating mobile and online sports-betting has already passed, and thus New York may soon enough be able to offer legal casino, sports-betting and poker mobile apps.  New York Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. said he is pushing and advocating the bill for mobile New York sports betting faster in order to gain momentum and hopefully put things in place for the upcoming budget process.

Governor Cuomo holds daily calls with the press and addresses the residents of the state which has been hit pretty hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In New York, the virus already affected more than 288,000 people.  So be it more revenues to the state, or merely a moral boost for sports fans, getting NY sports back on track again will be a positive step towards returning to normal life, even if without fans at initial stages.  As Cuomo put it: “If players could get paid more than staying home, and owners can get some revenue versus total shutdown, why not?” he asserted.  “I’d love to watch.” 

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