Almost every sports league in the world has either suspended play or delayed the start of their season. The timeline for a return from the Covid-19 pandemic is unclear because the virus and the response across a given country is going to determine what kind of delays are necessary.
Leagues are offering up a variety of responses and estimations, and the latest comes from the National Women’s Soccer League. On Wednesday, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird told women’s soccer reporter Jeff Kassouf in a wide-ranging interview that the league’s “current, working target” is a return to play at the end of June.
The NWSL was scheduled to start its regular season on April 18th, but the league announced a delay to follow guidelines released by the Center for Disease Control. The league had put in place a training moratorium through April 5th, and that will be extended.
Each notable American sports league appears to be operating on their own in figuring out a timeline to get started, although Baird said she’s been working to some degree with MLS, USL and US Soccer. I suspect that once one league commits to an eventual start date, other leagues will take that as reason to formalize their own schedules.
There’s currently some speculation Major League Baseball is looking at a 100-game schedule that starts July 1st. Mark Cuban had said the NBA could return by mid-May but is now backing off that statement with the league looking to move back the annual player draft. Both those bits of news point to sports leagues realistically not getting going until early July.
The situation for every sports league is fluid, and as we’re seeing with the state-by-state gubernatorial Covid-19 briefings, things are going to change. The NWSL commissioner referred to late June as the “current, working target,” and odds are decent this will not be the final working target.