- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2020

President Trump said major sports leagues will phase in over the coming weeks or months, starting with games played behind closed doors as the U.S. figures out how to resume its pastimes safely in the age of the coronavirus.

“Many of them are going to be starting without the fans. It will be made for television,” Mr. Trump said, citing his conversations with major sports leagues.

He said as transmission wanes, the arenas will be able to filter in spectators while maintaining some spacing.

“Then fans will start coming in, maybe they’ll be separated by two seats,” Mr. Trump said.

The president did not outline a specific timeline or deadline for getting leagues started again. But he opined on the need to phase in sports as part of a broader rollout of guidelines to reopen the economy in each state.

Mr. Trump has made it clear he is anxious to get Major League Baseball, the NBA and other games going again.

Those leagues suspended their seasons as the virus took hold earlier this year, even as teams qualified for the NBA playoffs and baseball clubs were set to transition from spring training to opening day. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were wiped off the schedule.

Mr. Trump said there will be “packed arenas” once the nation is satisfied the virus is defeated.

“When the virus is gone, we’ve going to be back to normal,” he said.

Anthony Fauci, a key scientist on the White House coronavirus task force, said franchises may have to pull back on its ambitions if there is a spike in cases in particular regions.

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