As Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue to negotiate toward the potential return of the sport amid the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday morning that he is in favor of all of the major sports franchises in the New York area resuming play without fans.
"I also have been encouraging major sports teams to plan reopenings without fans," Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus briefing. "But the games could be televised. New York State will help those major sports franchises to do just that. Hockey, basketball, baseball, football -- whoever can reopen -- we're a ready, willing, and able partner."
Cuomo later added:
"If they can make the numbers work, I say great -- come back. ... Why wait until you can fill a stadium before you start to bring a team back? If you can televise it in the meantime, great."
The plan currently being discussed by MLB and the players revolves around as many teams as possible opening the season in their home ballparks without fans in attendance. In areas of the country where teams are not permitted to use their home ballpark, an alternate site would be secured.
The rate of coronavirus hospitalizations, new cases, and deaths in New York have been dropping steadily. There were 106 new deaths over the last 24 hours reported Monday.
"Personal disclosure -- I want to watch the Buffalo Bills, but I'm still objective," Cuomo said. "I'm acting as governor, there's no personal agenda here. Yes, I do want to watch the Bills. But that is not subverting my role as governor. I think this is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest of the state of New York, even though I do have a coincided personal agenda because I want to watch the Bills. But they are separate agendas. Least someone say I have a conflict of interest, I want to disclose it."
As far as a potential NHL return, it's not yet clear where teams would play, though the potential of teams playing in "hubs" has reportedly been discussed. A potential NBA return is seemingly not as close as the NHL.
When it comes to the NFL, the current plan is to open the regular season (and preseason) as planned with fans in attendance.