After a nearly four month hiatus from professional sports due to COVID-19, the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL are expected to resume within the next month. For Boston sports fans this is welcome news as all four teams - Cetics, Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots have title hopes. Keep reading to learn when and where your favorite teams are returning to action.
The Boston Celtics
The NBA returns to action on July 30th from within the bubble at the ESPN Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. Unlike traditional regular season play, only the top 22 teams will head to Florida where 8 games will be played before the playoffs kickoff. For seeding, the top seven teams in each conference - which includes the Celtics - will clinch a spot while the 8th seed could come down to a play-in tournament. For the Celtics, the team is expected to have every player on the roster; however, star forward Gordon Hayward has stated that he'll leave the bubble for the birth of his fourth child sometime during the playoff period. No games will be played with fans in attendance and all will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
Boston Red Sox
After contentious negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players Association that out the 2020 season in doubt, an agreement was finally reached at the 11th hour that will see all teams participate in a 60 game season followed by the playoffs. The Yankees vs Nationals followed by the Giants and Dodgers kick off the season on July 23. For Boston, the season begins at Fenway Park on July 24 with a showdown against division rival Baltimore Orioles. Just last week, six Red Sox players tested positive for COVID 19 to include SP Eduardo Rodriguez. Like the NBA, fans will not be in attendance but games will be broadcast as usual throughout the season.
The Bruins opened their training camp for the resumption of the NHL season on July 13. The Bruins and 23 other teams from both conferences are scheduled to return to the ice on August 1 with Eastern Conference teams playing in Toronto and Western Conference foes in Edmonton. Luckily for the Bruins, their play in the glregular season prior to the stoppage earned them one of the 8 playoff spots to compete for the Stanley Cup. As with the other professional sports leagues, fans will not be allowed at any games for the remainder of the season but you will be able to watch on TV via NESN or nationally broadcasted games on NBC and other local channels.
New England Patriots
The new look Patriots will be led by someone other Tom Brady for the first time in more than a decade. Thus far, the NFL is the only league yet to release their COVID-19 plans which leaves only a short period of time before training camps are supposed to begin. Come July 28th it remains questionable whether the Patriots will open training camp, but the NFL has maintained that they plan to play the season to completion. The NFL has cut back the number of preseason games from 4 to 2 in an effort to give players more time to prepare while also preventing the spread of the virus. The NFL is hoping to have fans in the seats at stadiums but many of those decisions will be made at the state level with it unlikely that governors will risk transmission by allowing spectators - at least at the beginning of the season.