How Non-Poker Sports in the US are Handling Coronavirus Threat

The poker world is well aware of the threat the coronavirus could have on the 2020 World Series of Poker. But the deadly virus will likely also cause some changes to other sports in the US.

coronavirus poker march madness

Will the coronavirus lead to empty seats at the 2020 NCAA Tournament? (Image: CBS Sports)

March Madness is on the horizon, as the gambling and basketball worlds will shift their focus to the NCAA Tournament in just nine days. Most NCAA Tournament games are played in front of large crowds, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering if those crowds will be sparse this year.

Smaller crowds or not, the arenas won’t be empty, according to NCAA officials. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, said canceling one of the biggest sporting events in the world would be irrational.

“I think a worst-case scenario is that it’s played behind closed doors,” Hainline told the Wall Street Journal. “It would be very, very difficult to cancel a championship and have it at any other time.”

The NCAA, instead of canceling its money-making event, has sent its member schools two memos with info on how to travel safely during the coronavirus pandemic. So, have no fear, March Madness will still go on as planned.

Coronavirus to Impact Upcoming MLB Season?

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is just 17 days away. Or, is it?

MLB officials say they have no plans to postpone the season’s start, but they are taking precautionary measures to ensure players, media, and fans stay healthy and safe.

Media members, however, will have to make a few changes to the way they communicate with the athletes. Four professional sports leagues — Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, and the National Basketball Association — announced on Monday they are temporarily limiting locker-room access for media personnel to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice,” the statement read.

Media members will temporarily be required to interview players in designated locations outside the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be put into place on Tuesday.

But there are no plans from any of the major pro sports leagues to cancel any games as a result of the coronavirus. Of course, that could all change should the virus become as widespread in the US as some anticipate. As of Monday night, the US has reported 708 confirmed cases and 27 deaths. Some health experts anticipate a significant rise in transmission and fatality in the coming weeks. Let’s all hope those predictions turn out to be inaccurate.

Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.


M13A13 wrote...

Coronavirus is a major threat to all sports, including poker. Although no one is concerned with poker, but precedes his poker player, because poker is a game where personal contact is very close and players are very close to other players, so he has priority for poker players and not only other sports.

Muzyka1996 wrote...

coronavirus made adjustments to sports, nothing to look at now 🙁

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