The NBA, MLB and other sports leagues are waiting to make a decision about the future of the 2020 seasons
After warm-ups and the shootaround, the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were in their huddles, preparing for the awaited tip-off on March 11 earlier this year. Chesapeake Arena, home of the Thunder, had almost 20,000 fans packed in to watch the showdown. As the game was delayed, loud music was turned on to distract the oblivious fans from the ominous situation. Both teams exited the court, and delusional “boos” were thrown out by some fans. The game was announced postponed, and the exits were filled with disappointment.
On March 12, the National Basketball Association, along with many other sports leagues and organizations, announced the suspension of their season due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
“I understand why the season was postponed,” junior and Dallas Mavericks season ticket holder Michael Bagley said. “I think Adam Silver––commissioner of the NBA––did a good job shutting things down quickly.”
Because the season was postponed, season ticket holders are left wondering what will happen to all of their game passes.
“[The Dallas Mavericks organization] has to wait for and see what happens [to the season],” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “Then, [the Mavericks] will work with the NBA and decide [what to do with the tickets].”
For Bagley, he has been told the rest of his tickets can now be used as vouchers for any future contests. Prices for the vouchers vary depending on how much a ticket costs a certain game.
“I’m not sure what the final deal is, but that’s what [the Mavericks] are giving us as of now,” Bagley said. “[The credit] is the exact value of the ticket for any given game. So lets say [the Mavericks] are playing the Denver Nuggets, those tickets would not be anywhere near as much as tickets to a Lakers game [because the Lakers tickets are worth more].
The system is not set in stone due to the fact there may be a continuation of the postponed season. The NBA shares its plight with Major League Baseball, as the virus has negatively impacted both seasons.
“I think they did the right thing considering the circumstances,” sophomore and Texas Rangers season ticket holder Kai Robinson said. “However, it sucks that there aren’t any baseball games to watch on TV or go to.”
Earlier this month, the Texas Rangers were planning to unveil their long-awaited stadium, the new Globe Life Park. Complete with air conditioning and a roof, fans could not have been more excited to watch a ballgame in it. Postponing its first game was like rubbing salt on a cut for Rangers fans.
“I was looking forward to seeing what the field was going to be like with a roof,” Robinson said. “[The roof] is a major change from the old stadium. I was also looking forward to trying some of the new food items they [were going to introduce] this season.”
The MLB and NBA are handling the situation similarly, with ticket credits to games that never played. However, the MLB never started their season, while the NBA was in the final third of its season.
“There are still hopes that [the Texas Rangers] will play their games,” Robinson said. “It all depends on how the MLB modifies the schedule, so they have not refunded [ticket holders]. If the season gets completely cancelled or if they play less games than normal, [the tickets] would carry over credit into next season.”
The MLB originally was rumored to be planning a program that would place teams in Arizona, Texas or Florida. To reduce risk of spreading the virus, there would be no fans allowed and instead of being in the dugouts, teams would be stationed in their clubhouse.
“As a fan, I think it wouldn’t be fun because I love going to the games,” Robinson said. “If they can play the games at their spring training facilities, then fans could at least watch it on TV.”
This plan was not moved on, and a more conventional plan was proposed instead. MLB owners sent a plan to the players association outlining an 82 game season that would start in July with “spring training” starting in mid June.
Every team would try and play in their home ballpark, unless state or federal regulations prevent it. For example, due to the restrictions in Canada, the Toronto Bluejays would have to play their games in Florida where there spring training is located.
Nothing is official, and the MLB has to see where the country is in terms of the pandemic as the summer months approach.
Whether you’re a fan of college sports, basketball, football, cricket or you aren’t a sports fan at all, everyone can agree that America could use entertainment.
“I hope [professional sports] will start back up soon,” Bagley said. “America is bored and needs sports to get through quarantine.”