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When can restaurants tune back into sports?

Here's what the major leagues and associations are saying.
Sports bar
Photograph: Shutterstock

Sports fans may be waiting a long time before they can catch live broadcasts of their favorite major league teams on the flatscreens of reopened restaurant dining rooms. Fortunately for the diehards, there’s already televised golf and NASCAR racing. Here’s a quick rundown of where pro sports stand at mid-June.

Baseball: Maybe July
Nothing has officially been announced, but observers say they’ve picked off signs that an abbreviated season of 60 or so MLB games may start around the third week of July. The rumors hold that the players’ union have bowed to owners’ demands that salaries be prorated to match the fewer games pros will play. Yet to be pegged is how many teams will resume play, where the games will take place and if spectators will be admitted into the facilities. It’s important to note that reports of a season restart have been as reliable to date as Big Foot sightings since spring training was halted.

NBA games: July
Games in the men’s league will not resume until July 31, but hardcore fans may be treated to coverage of practices and scrimmages after players start arriving in Orlando, Fla., earlier in the month. Twenty-two teams will participate in a tournament format, beginning with eight “seeding” games each. The results of those preliminary rounds will determine what squads move on to the playoffs, a series of best-of-seven contests. All the games will be held in three arenas on Disney property in Orlando, Fla. The league doesn’t have much time until the 2020-21 season is set to start in December.

WNBA games: July
The women’s league announced June 15 that practices can resume next month, but didn’t say when games could commence. The season will be shortened to 22 games, with playoffs to follow. All will be played in Bradenton, Fla., and will involve all 12 of the league’s teams. Spectators will not be present.

Hockey: July?
Players and teams were recently alerted by the NHL that practices can resume July 10 for the 24 teams that will compete in a tournament format for the league’s championship trophy, the Stanley Cup. But when they’ll take to the ice for the elimination games, a series of best-of-five contests has yet to be revealed.  Simultaneously with those games, the best four squads in each division will participate in a round-robin to determine which will be seeded for the preliminary and final contests. League officials say the puck won’t drop until the safety of players, referees and team support personnel can be guaranteed. All the contests, leading up to a best-of-seven final series for the Cup, will be held in two yet-to-be-identified cities, one in the East and one in the West.

Men’s golf: Back—with all clapping done remotely
The PGA resumed its professional tour on Sunday, June 24, with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. An additional 14 tournaments have already been scheduled through the summer. The first four will not allow spectators on the courses.

Women’s golf: July 23
The LPGA has announced that sanctioned tournaments will resume on July 23 with the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. Nineteen more contests have been scheduled for the remainder of 2020.

NASCAR racing: Back and busy
Stock car racing roared back in mid-May with seven major contests held over 10 days, all without spectators in attendance. Now NASCAR is moving as fast as one of its member’s cars to rebuild an audience, with multiple new events scheduled for Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21.

Tennis: Mid-August
The Association of Tennis Professionals, the group that represents male players, has announced that its tour showcasing the world’s top talent will resume August 4. Included is the U.S. Open in New York City, one of the most-viewed annual events in the sport for both male and female contestants. On June 15, the Women’s Tennis Association said that contests sanctioned by that group would resume Aug. 3, barring any backslides in combatting the coronavirus.

Olympics: Tune in next year
The 2020 Games, scheduled for Tokyo, have officially been postponed to 2021.

Premium League soccer: Back for early birds
The British import resumed play on June 17. Because the games are played overseas, with a serious time difference, the broadcast schedule isn’t ideal for places that want to pack their limited seating in the evening. But as any Liverpool fan would attest, the true followers don’t care about when they can watch.

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