The Hope to Have Fans Back in Arenas and Stadiums by August or September: News from President Trump’s Call with Major-League Sports Commissioners

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On Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump held a conference call with all major-league sports commissioners discussing the all-of-America response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner Gary Bettman was on the call for the NHL. President Trump recognized the “good work” done teams and players in their communities, the workforce, and the fanbase.

President Trump hopes to have fans back in arenas and stadiums by August or September, but due to the overwhelming Coronavirus outbreak, medical experts may find that timeline unrealistic.

On the NFL side, high-level officials from several teams are preparing to do the 2020 Draft virtually from home and away from team facilities. The official decision from the NFL has yet to be made. The 2020 NFL Draft is April 23-25 and was originally set to take place in Las Vegas.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN says the NHL is “paying very close attention” to this option as well. Although it is still undecided, the NHL may want to have the draft but “scaled-down” such as limiting fans and prospects. The 2020 NHL Draft is June 26-27 and was originally set to take place at the Bell Centre in Montréal. However, at this point, the biggest priority would be deciding the fate of the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the playoffs.

President Trump also believes the NFL season should begin on-time in September.

The NBA shut down on March 11 and was the first league to do so because of COVID-19. Other sports leagues followed shortly after. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on the call that they “would love to lead the way in starting the economy” once there was an “all clear” from public health officials.

In a troubling economy, a way for leagues to quickly get fans back into arenas and stadiums would be working together to lobby for tax credits, says ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski. Trump raised the idea that it was used for entertainment expenses like deducting concessions and tickets from taxes.

According to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who spoke to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta this morning on SiriusXM NHL, today’s call with President Trump was mostly “informational” than anything.

Here is the full list of commissioners on the call:

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is a fiction writer based out of the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area and an online student attending Full Sail University. She got her start in the entertainment industry at age seven as an actress. At the young age of nine, Della wrote a psychological thriller short story that sparked her interest in creative writing. She comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for sports. In her spare time, Della enjoys photography, traveling, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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