(USA Features) President Donald Trump said he told commissioners of the various American professional sports leagues he would like to see fans attending events by the fall.
In the Saturday conference call, Trump told the NFL they should start on time, according to sources quoted by ESPN. The president also said he wants stadiums and arenas to be able to have fans again by either August or September.
The president’s call comes amid the cancellation of several professional sports seasons due to the still-emerging coronavirus outbreak.
The call included 12 different sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, PGA Tour, MLB, and NHL. The president also brought up the potential for sports leagues to be able to get tax credits for fans on tickets and concessions.
Donald Trump also told commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/EFqDryGlTQ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly said on the call with the president he wants his league to take the lead in restarting the regular season once the all-clear is given by health experts.
That could be a while, however, as it’s not at all certain what an ‘all-clear’ would look like — fewer coronavirus infections around the country or none at all. If it is the latter, then it may be difficult if not impossible to restart leagues at all, given the prediction by some Trump administration health officials that the virus could return in the fall.
The NBA suspended its season in early March after a player tested positive for the virus. Since then officials have been looking for a way to have playoffs, but they may have to cancel the entire season instead.
President Trump discussed the reopening the leagues during his Saturday virus press conference.
“I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later,” the president said.
“And, you know, we’re not going to have to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet. We need it for this period of time, but eventually, people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other like we have for all of my life and all of your life,” he said.