Three governors of the biggest states provided hope Monday that professional sports could soon return after a pause in competition because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The governors of California, New York and Texas made announcements at separate news conferences, and their comments could spark nationwide momentum to bring back pro sports.
That could mean the Golden Knights finishing their season and the Raiders beginning theirs. Gov. Steve Sisolak said Friday that he would decide by the end of this month whether restrictions could be further eased depending on the results of the Phase One reopenings that began May 9.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said pro sports without fans could be played by early June, a significant relaxation of previous statements that cast doubt on events being played at all this year. His previous remarks prompted speculation that the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers might consider playing games at Allegiant Stadium.
Newsom stressed that California city and county governments could move slower based on local conditions, but called this announcement a start to “organizing around what (a return) might look like.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state is the hardest hit by the coronavirus, tweeted that New York state “is ready and willing to partner with major sports teams that are interested in playing games safely, without fans.” He echoed that statement at his news conference.
New York State is ready and willing to partner with major sports teams that are interested in playing games safely, without fans.
If our professional sports teams can make it work (& be safe) on their end, we’re supportive.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 18, 2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott set May 31 as the start date for pro sports to return to his state, and like the other governors, said that spectators would not be allowed in the near future.
“Let’s be clear, COVID-19 still exists in Texas,” Abbott said. “Our goal is to find ways to coexist with COVID-19 as safely as possible.”
The return of pro sports likely would have little effect on whether college athletics are played on time because those events rely more heavily on in-game revenue.