Coronavirus timeline: 124th Boston Marathon canceled
Sports leagues around the country and world were canceled, suspended or adjusted in some way due to the coronavirus spread.
With more information on cancellations of events and looking forward to reopening in the future, here’s a look at everything that’s transpired since the COVID-19 virus impacted the sports world.
This article will be continually updated as new restrictions and openings become known.
2020 Boston Marathon canceled
The 124th Boston Marathon, which had been postponed from April, has now been canceled, the Boston Athletic Association announced Thursday.
Those who registered will be offered a refund and the opportunity to run the race virtually.
Premier League sets return date for June 17
AP — The Premier League’s official broadcasters say the competition will restart on June 17.
The BBC and Sky Sports say there will be a doubleheader on that day with Manchester City playing Arsenal and Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United.
Playing those make-up games on a Wednesday will ensure the 30th round can be contested the following weekend.
The last match was played on March 9 before the competition was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Squads were only allowed to restart practice sessions in small groups last week but contact and tackling is now allowed between players.
EuroLeague cancels rest of season
Europe’s top basketball league canceled the remainder of its season Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying health concerns had to be paramount despite numerous attempts to find ways to resume play.
The EuroLeague, which is composed of 18 teams across 10 European nations, had been suspended since March 12. League officials said they “explored every possible option” in trying to find a way to resume the season.
“Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history,” Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. “Due to reasons beyond our control, we have been forced to cut short the most successful and exciting season in European basketball history.”
Japanese baseball season to start on June 19 without fans
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19 under a plan that excludes fans.
League commissioner Atsushi Saito made the announcement on Monday after an online meeting with representatives of the league’s 12 teams.
“I hope we can provide some guidance for sports other than professional baseball,” Saito said. “It is important to operate cautiously according to our guidelines”.
Teams can start practice games on June 2. The season was originally set to start March 20 but the start was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spanish soccer league can resume June 8
BARCELONA (AP) — The soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume from June 8, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Saturday.
While the top tier, La Liga, can play from this date, it has already said it wants to resume play on June 12. It is unclear when the first games will be held.
There has been no play in the top tier due to the coronavirus crisis since March 12.
Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually.
Belmont Stakes to lead off Triple Crown on June 20
The Belmont Stakes will be run June 20 in New York without fans and serve as the opening leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown for the first time in the sport’s history.
The New York Racing Association on Tuesday unveiled the rescheduled date for the Belmont, which will also be contested at a shorter distance than usual. The 2020 Belmont will be 1 1/8 miles instead of the 1 1/2-mile “test of the champion” that has been the race’s trademark for almost a century.
“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “While this will certainly be a unique running of this historic race, we are grateful to be able to hold the Belmont Stakes in 2020.”
This is the first time the Belmont will lead off the Triple Crown ahead of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 and the Preakness from May 16 to Oct. 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Belmont was originally scheduled for June 6. But racing in New York halted in late March after a backstretch worker tested positive for COVID-19, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t give the green light to resume until Saturday.
Premier League clubs to resume non-contact training
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Premier League clubs agreed Monday on the measures that will allow non-contact practice sessions to resume during the coronavirus pandemic.
The protocols for small group training — while maintaining social distancing — beginning Tuesday were approved unanimously in a vote by the clubs during a conference call after the government eased lockdown restrictions in England last week.
Up to five players will be allowed to work together on a pitch, according to details released by Newcastle. The northeast club will operate a rotation that will ensure only 10 players maximum are at the training ground at any one time.
“A player has a quarter of a pitch to work within, so social distancing is not a problem,” Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said. “We’ll train with eight to ten at a time on two separate pitches. Everything is in place in the safety aspect. I’ve got no issues and I can tell the supporters the players and the staff are as safe as we possibly can be.
Spanish league soccer teams start group training
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish league took another step toward restarting the soccer season by allowing teams to resume group training on Monday.
Practice sessions were closer to routine as players were allowed to work in groups for the first time since the league was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Keep-aways, exchanges of passes and player interaction were back at the training camps as the league has allowed up to 10 players to practice together in what is expected to be the second-to-last phase before the competition can resume.
The move by Spain comes after the Bundesliga in Germany became the first top soccer league to resume over the weekend.
Australian rules football league ready to resume June 11
AP — Aussie rules football will kick off again on June 11, with the second round of the Australian Football League to be played almost three months after the competition was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian Football League chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Friday announced the matches for the next four rounds of the condensed season would be released within 10 days. The AFL, Australia’s most-watched sports league in terms of attendance and TV audience, was suspended on March 22 after one round.
Quarantine requirements and travel restrictions from some states means players and staff from the four AFL clubs from Western Australia and South Australia — the West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers, Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide — will be temporarily be relocated to hubs on the Gold Coast, an hour south of Brisbane.
NBA, NCAA postpone draft withdrawal date
The NCAA and NBA are indefinitely postponing the withdrawal date, which was June 3, for early-entry draft prospects, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Arizona governor opens door for pro sports return in state
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has opened the door for professional sports to return to the state.
Ducey said on Tuesday that professional sports, including MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL can resume without fans on Saturday. The state is slowly starting to reopen during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with Ducey saying on social media that Arizona is “trending in the right direction.”
Ducey said he’s had discussions with “leaders of some of these leagues” but did not say which ones or elaborate on what activities might take place in Arizona. Last month, he said he’d spoken with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and was open to hosting games.
“It would be at this point in time, according to the CDC guidelines, without fans,” Ducey said at a press conference. Citing his public health director, he said “we could do that safely in the state of Arizona beginning May 16.”
ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reported Monday that the fifth iteration of the World Baseball Classic “will not be played in 2021.” A source told Rojas the event is canceled and organizers don’t see how the next WBC could take place before 2023.
Part of the March 9-23 event was set to take place in Arizona at Chase Field from March 13-17 for the first round.
Chase Field was scheduled to be joined by fellow hosts at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan; the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; and Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins.
The American Hockey League canceled the rest of its season Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic and shifted its focus toward returning next season.
That meant the Arizona Coyotes’ affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, finished atop the Pacific Division with 75 points through 58 games played.
Bundesliga soccer to resume on May 16 in empty stadiums
BERLIN (AP) — The Bundesliga soccer season will resume on May 16 in empty stadiums, picking up right where it left off two months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thursday’s announcement comes one day after clubs were told the season could restart following a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors.
Soccer in Europe takes steps toward return
MADRID (AP) — Soccer players in Spain returned to their team’s training camps Wednesday for the first time since the country entered a lockdown nearly two months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and other clubs started preparing for the return to training this week. They were all expected to be tested for COVID-19 and should be cleared to practice once the results are back. Most clubs are expected to resume practicing by the end of the week.
The majority of players did not wear masks or gloves when they arrived, according to Spanish media. Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Luis Suárez were among those without masks when they drove into Barcelona’s training center. Antoine Griezmann, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic did wear masks. Sergi Roberto arrived without a mask but had one on when he left.
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Bundesliga can resume this month.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish soccer league plans to resume on June 12, a month and a half after it was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Turkish soccer federation president Nihat Ozdemir said Wednesday he hopes to finish the season by the end of July and host the Champions League final in Istanbul in August.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the NBA postponed the draft lottery and combine on Friday.
The NBA hasn’t announced whether it will continue its regular season, which paused on March 11. That complicates matters on determining draft lottery order, and trades that become part of the draft itself. Wojnarowski said it’s expected that the draft will eventually get postponed.
NASCAR announced that it will resume its season on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway. A NASCAR Cup Series race is the first of seven over an 11-day span to restart the schedule.
That, plus the Xfinity and Gander Truck series, will race over that span without fans in attendance.
The first three events will take place at Darlington Raceway, while the following four will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR season is expected to keep a 10-race format at the previously-committed venues, and the NASCAR Cup series postseason was originally scheduled to end at Phoenix Raceway with a championship on Nov. 8, 2020. The situation remains fluid, however, and NASCAR said no dates have been scheduled past May 27.
The Little League World Series and its regional qualifying tournaments were canceled Thursday as organizers referenced health and logistical concerns in going forward with the necessary events leading to the final tournament.
The final event was scheduled to take place Aug. 20-30.
IFL cancels rest of season
The Indoor Football League announced they are canceling the rest of its season.
For their schedule, the IFL had only gotten two games into their season, with a game each taking place on March 7 and 8.
The Arizona Rattlers did not even play a game in the season, with their season debut originally scheduled for March 12.
NBA teams pushing for later draft date
NBA teams are “united” in pushing the league to move the draft back to no sooner than Aug. 1, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony reported. The move is believed to help recover lost time for draft prospect scouting and interviews. It’s also problematic to have the draft before the NBA season resumes — if that happens — because that could muddy the waters of trading active NBAers on draft night, the reporters wrote.
XFL suspending operations
ESPN’s Field Yates reports that all employees of the upstart XFL have been laid off, as informed on a conference call with COO Jeffery Pollock. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the league held a conference call and told employees they’re suspending operations.
UFC 249 canceled
LOS ANGELES (AP) — UFC 249 has been canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped UFC President Dana White’s plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic. After defiantly vowing for weeks to maintain a regular schedule of fights while the rest of the sports world halted, White confirmed the decision to cease competition in a text to The Associated Press.
White announced the decision to cease competition Thursday on ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner. UFC 249 was scheduled for April 18, and White planned to follow it with weekly fight cards from Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino on tribal land in California’s Central Valley.
Track world championships rescheduled
MONACO (AP) — The track world championships were rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022, on Wednesday, the first major sports event to be repositioned in the wake of the 12-month postponement of the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event, which draws around 1,800 athletes from more than 200 countries, will still be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, which was expanded and remodeled for the event that was originally supposed to take place in August 2021.
Instead of simply pushing back the worlds by a year, the new dates were chosen to coordinate with other major events set for 2022. The Commonwealth Games, which draws athletes from more than 70 countries in a wide array of sports, are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7. The European track championships are set for Aug. 11-21.
• TO BE CONFIRMED: June 15-21 (formerly U.S. Open week) – potential PGA TOUR event
• CANCELED: July 13-19, The Open Championship, Royal St. George’s GC, Sandwich, Kent, England
• TO BE CONFIRMED: July 13-19 (formerly The Open Championship week) – potential PGA TOUR event
• TO BE CONFIRMED: July 27-August 2 (formerly Men’s Olympic Competition week) – potential PGA TOUR event
• CONFIRMED: August 3-9 – PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
• CONFIRMED: PGA TOUR’s season-ending event/FedExCup Playoffs
— August 10-16 – Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
— August 17-23 – THE NORTHERN TRUST, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
— August 24-30 – BMW Championship, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Illinois
— August 31-September 7 (Labor Day) – TOUR Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
• CONFIRMED: September 14-20 – U.S. Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York
• RECONFIRMED: September 22-27: Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
• CONFIRMED: November 9-15: the Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
The Open canceled, Masters targets new dates (8:15 a.m.)
The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945, with the R&A choosing to play golf’s oldest championship next year at Royal St. George’s and move the 150th Open at St. Andrews to 2022.
It was a major piece of golf trying to reconfigure a schedule brought on by the spread of the new coronavirus.
Golf organizations were expected to announced later Monday the PGA Championship moving to August, the U.S. Open going to September and the Masters to be played in November, two weeks before Thanksgiving.
“Augusta National Golf Club has identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters,” read a statement on the Masters’ website.
WNBA postpones start of season
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic, with no indication when play would begin.
The league was scheduled to open training camps April 26 and the regular season was set to begin May 15. The WNBA will still hold a “virtual” draft April 17.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement Friday the league will “use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats.”
“Our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees,” Engelbert said.
The WNBA, which was set to begin its 24th season, is the longest running professional women’s sports league.
The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year’s games.
Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.
“The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,” Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.”
The International Boxing Hall of Fame has canceled its Hall of Fame weekend in June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive director Ed Brophy said Sunday that this year’s class will be honored at the induction ceremony in June 2021.
In a league memo, the NFL said that teams must plan on meeting somewhere outside of their facility with only a certain number of staff members present and have technology in place to communicate with other teams and the league.
General managers, though, are concerned about the amount of preparation they have not been able to get done while working from home and not at the team facilities.
WNBA to draft virtually
AP — The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount.”
Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league’s broadcast partner’s network. She just isn’t sure where she’ll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.
The National Hockey League announced Wednesday that the 2020 NHL Draft, scouting combine and Awards show would all be postponed.
The draft was scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal. The combine was to be held June 1-6 in Buffalo and the NHL Awards were slated for June 18 in Las Vegas.
The IOC announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of a coronavirus pandemic that is shutting down daily life around the globe and making planning for a massive worldwide gathering in July a virtual impossibility.
The International Olympic Committee said the Tokyo Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
Public events for the NFL Draft are canceled and the league is “exploring innovative options” for conducting the event in Las Vegas as scheduled, the league said in a statement on Monday.
The draft, which was set for April 23-25, will continue as originally scheduled. But the NFL said it is modifying its plans as the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted many businesses to close up shop and authorities to advise against or outright ban public gatherings.
Pat’s Run (8 a.m.)
Instead of running the usual route with about 30,000 participants ending in Sun Devil Stadium, Pat’s Run racers are encouraged to run a “virtual” 4.2-mile course.
The race itself has been canceled, but to keep the event operational, people are encouraged to run their own routes individually and use social media to connect to the community.
Donations are still accepted. Funds will benefit the Tillman Scholars, a group made of military members, veterans and spouses.
The Pac-12 expanded its suspension of sporting events and announced they will be cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
Masters (7 a.m.)
Augusta National decided Monday to postpone the Masters because of the spread of the coronavirus. It was scheduled for April 9-12.
It’s the fifth PGA Tour event impacted the precautionary measures.
Club chairman Fred Ridley says he hopes postponing the event puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its other two events at some later date.
Ridley did not say when it would be held. The PGA Tour has canceled all events through the Masters, and golf has a full schedule of events through the year.
The next major would be the PGA Championship in San Francisco in May.
NASCAR (8:30 a.m.)
NASCAR has postponed the coming weekend’s races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was set for Sunday at 2 p.m. It was only the fifth weekend of the 2020 NASCAR schedule, which came through Phoenix Raceway for the FanShield 500 just last weekend.
NFL (11:40 a.m.)
Shortly after the Cardinals announce they are shutting down the team facility to all but with “very limited exceptions for operationally critical personnel,” NFL tells teams they can no longer meet draft prospects in person, either at team facilities or at the players’ colleges.
Tennis (7:32 a.m.)
ATP has suspended play for six weeks.
MLS (8:42 a.m.)
MLS has suspended all play for 30 days.
AAC (8:45 a.m.)
The AAC has canceled its conference tournament. The tournament was scheduled from March 12-15.
Big 10 (8:49 a.m.)
The Big 10 has canceled its conference tournament.
PGA Tour (8:58 a.m.)
All PGA Tour events will proceed as scheduled, but without spectators through the Valero Texas Open. In addition, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be postponed. The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass allowed fans for the First Round of play, but will be restricting spectators for the final three rounds.
CUSA (9 a.m.)
The CUSA has canceled its conference tournament.
WAC (9 a.m.)
The WAC has canceled its conference tournament.
SEC (9:06 a.m.)
The SEC has canceled its conference tournament
ACC (9:15 a.m.)
The ACC has canceled its conference tournament.
Pac-12 (9:17 a.m.)
The Pac-12 has canceled its conference tournament. Three games were played at the Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday before the quarterfinals began Thursday. The Arizona Wildcats, California and Washington State all advanced to the next round.
USL (9:27 a.m.)
The USL has suspended play for a minimum of 30 days.
Big 12 (9:40 a.m.)
The Big 12 has canceled its conference tournament.
A-10 (9:50 a.m.)
The A-10 has canceled its conference tournament.
Big East (9:58 a.m.)
The Big East has canceled its conference tournament. Play between St. John’s and Creighton was stopped midgame Thursday.
NASCAR (10:33 a.m.)
NASCAR announced that it will hold its races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance.
NHL (10:35 a.m.)
MLB (12:10 p.m.)
Major League Baseball is suspending spring training in Arizona and Florida and will delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks as fears of coronavirus are heightened, the league announced Thursday.
“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to clubs in the coming days,” The MLB press release read. “As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming spring training games have been canceled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.”
MiLB (12:51 p.m.)
The MiLB announced Thursday the decision to delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. No date has been set.
NCAA (1:16 p.m.)
After originally planing to continue with March Madness at a limited capacity, the NCAA announced Thursday the decision to cancel both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, among other spring and winter championship events.
IFL (2:13 p.m.)
The IFL is suspending play following Saturday night’s games in Oakland and San Diego, the league announced Thursday.
LPGA (2:23 p.m.)
The LPGA event scheduled for next week at Desert Ridge in Phoenix, along with two others, have been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus, the LPGA announced Thursday.
XFL (4:16 p.m.)
The XFL canceled its 2020 season and plan to resume play in 2021.
PGA (6:59 p.m.)
The PGA announced they are canceling The Players Championship and all events through the Valero Texas Open.
Boston Marathon (7:11 a.m.)
WCVB.com reported that the Boston Marathon was postponing the 2020 race scheduled for April 20. They are hoping to reschedule the event.
XFL (11:36 a.m.)
The XFL announced Wednesday its scheduled game between the Seattle Dragons and L.A. Wildcats on Sunday will be played without fans in the venue.
NCAA (1:31 p.m.)
The NCAA announced on Wednesday that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would continue but without fans as authorities work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
NBA (6:46 p.m.)
The National Basketball Association and NBA G League decided to suspend gameplay after the conclusion of Wednesday night’s games until further notice, the leagues announced in a press release.
The NBA will use the “hiatus” in order to determine the following actions for advancing the remainder of the NBA season in regard to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
The announcement comes after the league also announced that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19 prior to tip-off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma. Since then, teammate Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive.
Ivy League (8:21 a.m.)
Tuesday morning, the Ivy League decided to cancel its basketball tournaments. The Ivy League took things a step further Wednesday, announcing the decision to cancel all athletic events through the remainder of the spring.
The Asssociated Press contributed to this story.