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US Major Leagues set restart plans

Major league sports in the US have set out details of how they plan to return to action in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Hockey League will go into playoffs with 24 eligible teams reporting on July 13 for training camps and then to Toronto (Eastern Conference) and Edmonton, Alta. (Western Conference) for games to start around August 1.

The Stanley Cup final will be in Edmonton, likely starting in early October.

On July 5, Major League Soccer postponed the start of its “MLS is Back” tournament by a week due to more players testing Covid-19 positive.

All 26 teams are now opening round-robin play at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports 17-pitch complex near Orlando on August 15, with the event set to last no more than 35 days.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Union reached  agreement on a 60-game schedule starting on July 24 at home ballparks with no fans – the shortest season since 1878.

To limit travel, American League Eastern, Central & Western teams will play their regional National League counterparts.

Post-season is expected to start September 29, with the World Series ending by October 28.

The National Basketball Assn. will go right into playoffs on July 30 at the three arenas at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports complex with no fans.

The top 16 teams (eight in each conference) and the other six with the best records will play traditional four rounds, each with best-of-seven series, with the NBA Finals ending no later than October 12.

December 1 will be the likely start of the 2020-21 regular season, possibly back on home courts depending on the Covid-19 situation.

Meanwhile, the National Football League and the Player’s Association reached agreement on only two pre-season games starting August 26.

The regular 17-week season kicks off on September 9, with all teams playing in home stadia with limited fans.

The first six to eight rows in all venues will be covered, including field boxes and suites. Super Bowl 55 is slated for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on February 7, 2021.