The NFL Football League reports records – and now Thanksgiving is near.
As in Austria, the epidemic situation in the USA is now much worse than it was a few weeks ago – with the difference that it never looked good in the USA. This is also a problem for the major US sports leagues. The National Football League (NFL) publishes the number of players who have tested positive and other team members each week. I have now reported high values twice in a row.
32 professionals have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 14 days, along with 76 other club employees. Since August 1, the number of positive tests among NFL players has risen to 95, with the upcoming update this week crossing the 100 mark.
At first it was the neglect of teams with transfers between members of the team, which were subject to severe penalties by the League, and now it looks different. “The new cases we got from the community. This also applies if there are many cases in the team,” NFL physician Allen Sales told a few days ago.
This means: players are injured at home, while shopping, or through friends. Thursday is Thanksgiving, and authorities have warned against large gatherings for days – the NFL is also likely to be concerned about the holiday given the more than 150,000 newly infected people per day.
Whether the NFL can follow its schedule as planned is open. There is already a plan B of 16 qualifiers, which has already been expanded to 14 teams, in case teams with concrete opportunities are forced to abandon matches due to the pandemic.
Other unions have to deal with similar questions – and they also have a problem with two countries. In the National Basketball Association (NBA), Canadian team Toronto Raptors play their home games in Tampa, Florida. Cross-border traffic between the United States and Canada is only permitted for important reasons, and the Canadian government is making no exceptions to quarantine rules for sports teams.
This does not comply with the tight NBA schedule and the “bubble” as at the end of the pre-season period is not an option for a full season. The problem is more complicated for the National Hockey League (NHL), where seven Canadian teams play. They simply cannot move to the neighboring country for a full season. So the consideration is for teams north of the border to compete in their own conference.
The 2020/21 NBA season is set to begin on December 22, then the NHL to begin on January 1 – whether that is possible seems questionable. Especially since the strongest ice hockey league in the world is more than an NFL and NBA account with viewers entering their business model and the economic damage is greater in return with every meeting without fans.