TORONTO, Ont.—On Wednesday night, NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 moments before his team tipped off. While Gobert wasn’t in the arena at the time, the game between his Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was subsequently cancelled.
A statement from the league followed, which notified everyone of the suspension of the 2020 season until further notice.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games and until further notice,” the league wrote in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Teams and North American professional sporting leagues are monitoring the dynamic virus that has stolen headlines around the world. In most cases, however, front offices are awaiting official word from their public health authorities and government agencies.
In MLS, in particular, the league announced that their Mar. 21 matches on the west coast in Seattle and San Jose would be postponed following the legal banning of all large gatherings in their respective local areas.
Major League Soccer Statement on COVID-19 (March 11) pic.twitter.com/DrKa1eLlXx— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 11, 2020
The league has also upped its health and safety procedures around other stadiums.
“...[Arenas] are increasing cleaning staff, disinfecting high-traffic areas, sanitizing the facilities before and after each matach, and making hand sanitizer available throughout venues,” the league wrote. “MLS stadiums are also allowing guests to bring in their own bottles of hand sanitizer and encouraging fans who feel sick or are in vulnerable populations to enjoy the match from home.”
Moving forward, MLS will also be limiting locker room access for media and will be postponing player appearances and autograph sessions. They’ve also made it mandatory for teams to take private charters to and from their matches.
And while they await further word from higher-ups (or in other words until their hand is forced), the league will—for now—go on.
Plan to arrive at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon as per the norm, but we’ll update you as soon as/if we hear otherwise.
If you have access The Athletic, this piece on the financial implications this could have on those around the league is well worth the read.