Professional sports teams in New York state can start training camps effective immediately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena,” Cuomo told reporters May 24.
“Work out the economics, if you can,” the governor said in a message to league commissioners and team officials.
“We want you up,” Cuomo continued. “We want people to be able to watch sports, to the extent that people are still staying home. It gives people something to do; it’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible.”
The Yankees were scheduled to begin spring training in Florida, as were the Mets, and Major League Baseball teams plan to start games in July. Some sports, including professional wrestling and golf, have already resumed.
The National Basketball Association, meanwhile, confirmed over the weekend that it’s in exploratory negotiations involving the Walt Disney Co. to resume play at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, which includes lodging and sites for practice and games.
Professional basketball came to an abrupt halt on March 11 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement.
About 40 percent of the league’s revenue comes from games, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a recent conference call with players.
Utilizing just one or two sites is the plan this season, Silver said, with Las Vegas named, in addition to Orlando. “There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you from city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” he said.
Even the most restrictive governors have said teams can start practicing, or plan to allow them to do so soon. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, told reporters last week that the state could let professional sports return next month.
Other governors have already said teams can resume practices and games if spectators aren’t involved. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis invited sports teams barred from playing in their home states to travel to his state.
“What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis told reporters.
“We know that it can be done safely.”