Sports Events Canceled/Affected by Coronavirus: March Madness Cancelled, MLB Delayed

John Healy
March 12, 2020 - 3:32 pm

As more and more people in the United States and across the globe have become infected with the coronavirus, the more it continues to impact our daily lives.

The sports world has found itself right in the center of it all as it tries to navigate the best course to keep fans, players and employees at large events safe and mitigate the risk of a possibly infected person spreading the disease.

There have already been tournaments cancelled and precautionary measures taken, with much more — possibly drastic — measure to come.

Follow RADIO.COM Sports for the latest on how sports are being affected by the coronavirus:

Pac 12 Cancels Spring Sports

According to

2020 Masters Tournament Postponed

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, released a statement Friday morning announcing the tournament, as well the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals are all postponed. For more info, read here.

Boston Marathon Postponed Until September

The world famous race has been delayed until September, pushing back on its initial date of April 20 by nearly half a year. For more info, read here.

World Football Leagues and Competitions Suspended

The English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League and several other European football leagues have all been shut down. The lengths of suspension vary among the different leagues as of now, with the Premier League suspended until April 3 while the Champions League has not made any decisions regarding matches played past March 18. More updates will follow.

PGA Tour Cancels Players Championship and Subsequent Tournaments

The initial decision to continue the Players Championship without any fans quickly elevated into a complete suspension of the tournament. Following the Players Championship were the Valspar Championship, the Dell Match Play and the Valero Texas Open. Thus, PGA play will shut down until at least early April.

NCAA Tournament is Cancelled

The NCAA has decided to cancel the men's and women's NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

The decision comes after every conference tournament was cancelled earlier in the day, while the NBA and other pro sports leagues suspended its season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

MLB Suspends Spring Training, Delays Regular Season By At Least Two Weeks

According to a statement announced via the official Twitter account of Major League Baseball, spring training will be suspended until further notice and the regular season will not start on the initially planned date of Thursday, March 26. Nothing is definite, but the delay will last at least two weeks. Additionally, teams are "preparing a variety of contingency plans" as leagues move forward in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

NASCAR Postpones Two Upcoming Events

Initially, the official Twitter account of NASCAR released a statement, saying that upcoming races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway would go on without any fans in attendance. However, as the situation has intensified, both of these races are now postponed to a later date.

NHL Follows in NBA's Footsteps

The NHL reached the decision to suspend the season on Thursday afternoon through a conference call with commissioner Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors. The season has officially paused without any definitive plan going forward. The league had initially told teams to halt all meetings and practices, and reports surfaced that referees on the road have been told to book flights home, indicating that a suspended season may have been in the works previously.

Conference Tournaments Cancelled

The Big Ten, SEC and AAC, along with other smaller conferences, have followed the Ivy League's suit and cancelled its conference tournaments this weekend.

MLS Season Suspended for 30 Days

The MLS has followed the NBA's lead and suspended its season, too. The MLS plans to halt play for 30 days.

NBA Suspends Season

The first big domino has fallen. The NBA has suspended its season until further notice after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

No Fans For March Madness

NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement on Wednesday that no fans will be in attendance for the remainder of all Division I men's and women's basketball games. This means that the entirety of the NCAA March Madness Tournament will be played in front of an empty arena.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced on Wednesday that he is banning large public gatherings across the state through March. This means the Seattle Mariners cannot open the 2020 season at home as scheduled. The Mariners released a statement that they are currently working with MLB on alternative plans for their games at the end of March against the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins.

Fans Being Encouraged to Stay Home

Ohio governor Mike Dewine recommended on Tuesday that fans should not attend any indoor sporting events, effective immediately. This would mean fans would not be in attendance for the MAC basketball tournament, which begins this week, as well as the NCAA's First Four game in Dayton that begins next Tuesday.

In addition to DeWine's recommendation in Ohio, Philadelphia city officials recommended that people should avoid gatherings of more than 5,000 people. The Wells Fargo Center, which is home to the Flyers and Sixers, holds 20,000 people and is hosting games on both Tuesday and Wednesday night.

The games and tournaments held in both Ohio and Philadelphia are still scheduled to go as planned, but this could signal the beginning of games being played in empty arenas, or more postponements ahead.

Ivy League Basketball Tournament Cancelled

One of the most serious measures taken as of March 10, the Ivy League has decided to cancel its conference tournament. This is noteworthy because the conference tournament is what determines which school gets an automatic bid into the NCAA March Madness Tournament, which is set to begin next week.

Yale, the regular season winner, will instead receive that berth. They are the only conference to decide on cancelling its tournament thus far.

MLB's Investigation of Red Sox Halted

It's not just events that are being impacted by coronavirus, but behind-the-scenes stuff, too. MLB was supposed to have completed its investigation of the 2018 Red Sox and their alleged sign stealing, but that has been delayed and may continue to be further delayed because the league office has focused much of its attention on handling coronavirus fears.

Serie A in Italy Suspended

As part of a nationwide lockdown in Italy, all sports — including Serie A soccer — have been suspended in Italy. The suspension went into effect on Tuesday, March 10 and is expected to last until April 3.

Olympics Media Summit Postponed

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee cancelled its media summit in Los Angeles a week in advance. The four-day event was scheduled to hold more than 100 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Carli Lloyd, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Allyson Felix and Ryan Lochte.

MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS Ban Locker Room Access

Four sports leagues released a joint statement on March 9 that they would be closing access to locker rooms before and after games to all non-essential personnel. That means media members will not have access to the locker room for interviews, which will instead be conducted in designated spots outside the locker room.

BNP Paribas Open Postponed

The BNP Paribas Open became the first major sporting event in the U.S. was postponed due to fears over the coronavirus. The professional tennis event was scheduled to begin March 9 in Indian Hills, Calif., but organizers decided it was best not to follow through with the tournament, and instead will be made up at another date.

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