As states across the United States slowly introduce plans to lift stay-at-home restrictions and open up businesses, professional sports leagues and teams are watching closely. Unfortunately for Boston’s teams on Friday, the news wasn’t good for the potential return to normalcy.
Boston mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday that the city is planning its re-opening and recovery efforts, following economic and social turmoil brought by stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. While many businesses in Boston might open this summer, the city still plans to ban mass gatherings into September.
The decision to not hold mass gatherings through early September is bad news for the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
Under MLB’s ongoing discussions to bring baseball back, games would potentially be played at Fenway Park. However, due to the existing restrictions, the Red Sox would likely be unable to have any fans in attendance for their games throughout the 2020 season.
The Red Sox are just one of multiple teams that could be forced to play in an empty stadium. While ta financially stable ownership group backs the Red Sox, the economic fallout from a full season without fans in attendance could be devastating for MLB’s revenue, with every organization taking a significant hit.
Unfortunately for sports fans in Boston, the Patriots could eventually be in a similar situation. The city’s current plan likely means the home opener on Sept. 13 against the Miami Dolphins will be played in an empty Gillette Stadium. The Patriots would next play at home on Sept. 27 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Similarly to MLB, the NFL could suffer a staggering hit to its revenue if games are played with empty seats. League officials have discussed delaying the season to ensure that every team can play with fans in attendance, which would help the NFL save money. While the NFL is sticking to its current schedule, more orders like this could ultimately compel the league to delay the start of the 2020 season into October.