Due to the shutdown of almost every single live event starting in early 2020, sports fans have been left in a dire state in terms of both attending and watching their favorite teams and leagues as the world attempts to adapt to the new norm. Fortunately, only the NBA and NHL saw the most serious interruption, with the shutdown happening mid season and prolonging the start of the playoffs this past summer. Delays and schedule modifications occurred with the MLB season being pushed back and preseason NFL football being completely canceled.
Luckily, it seems as though most of the major sports leagues have found temporary workarounds in the attempt to return to a somewhat normal schedule for their late 2020 and 2021 seasons. Below is a breakdown of each of the major sports and their plans for their 2021 schedules.
Seeing the most confusing and unorthodox interruption this past season, the NBA was heading full steam into the summer playoffs before seeing the season suspended as they attempted a workaround. Resulting in the creation of the NBA “bubble”, about half of the league resumed their regularly scheduled season at the end of July 2020 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 22 total teams were invited to the NBA bubble, 16 of which were in playoff positions and six who were in reach of making the playoffs. After all was said and done, Lebron James and his Los Angeles Lakers were crowned champions after defeating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the NBA Finals.
However, due to the delay in play, the Finals were eventually completed in early October which is only a few weeks short of the regularly scheduled start of the 2020-2021 season. With such a short gap between seasons, the beginning of the upcoming NBA season was delayed until late December, with the coveted Christmas NBA games still scheduled for fans and players. If you are a fan of betting on US sports, you will still have the option to enjoy the stacked lineup of games.
Similar to the above mentioned NBA, the NHL was also suspended mid season, only a few short weeks before the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs. After a significant delay which saw the resumption of the season beginning the 1st of August, the rest of the regular season was canceled, with an expanded playoff system being implemented for the first time for the top 12 teams. With the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Dallas Stars at the end of September, this only left a short period before the regularly scheduled 2020-2021 season to begin in October.
The NHL has unofficially eyed mid January 2021 for the start of the regular season, however, there have been some setbacks in determining a solid timeline for the resumption of normal play. The NHL have announced the cancelation of both the 2021 All Star game and Winter Classics, however they are hopeful for the financially sound resumption of play early next year.
The beginning of the 2020 MLB season was set to kick off early April before the cancelation of most major sports in the middle of March last year. While the specifics were being debated as to how the regular season could begin play, opening day was pushed back nearly 4 months until the last week of July. Resumption of play saw an extremely abbreviated schedule, with restructured matchups to avoid significant travel. Ending with a schedule of 60 regular season games, with the DH being utilized for the first time in both leagues among other rule changes, the post season concluded on October 27th with the Dodgers triumphing over the Tampa Bay Rays in six games.
Luckily for the MLB, the opening of the 2021 season should be relatively similar to years past, as shown on the baseball betting sites the opening day is scheduled for April 1st. Additionally, the plan is to resume with the normally expected 162 game season. While the future is unknown for live attendance, fans should be able to enjoy a fairly normal MLB season from home.
Other Live Sports
As with most sports, the PGA Tour saw significant delays to most of the regularly planned championships. Due to the nature of the sport, most of the them were played at a later date with the exclusion of The Open Championship which was permanently canceled. As scheduled, the PGA Tour is set to resume a normal schedule throughout the end of 2020 and heading into 2021. The first Major of 2021, The Masters, is currently scheduled for the second week of April with the remainder of the Major Championships penned into the schedule starting in the summer of 2021.
Much as any other sport, most of the live poker tournaments have been canceled in 2020 and been moved online. Most poker players have moved their playing online and there has been an increased activity on poker training sites as well in online poker tournaments, which now also are being broadcasted on TV. The hope for all poker players, is that that annual WSOP in Las Vegas still will go ahead, which is the poker feast of the year.
Much of the ATP Tour was either outright canceled or postponed during the 2020 calendar, with Wimbledon being canceled for the first time since 1945 due to World War II. The massive schedule of events has obviously caused quite a shake up to the typical ATP schedule, with the inclusion of the 2020 Olympic tennis event being pushed back to the summer of 2021.
Much of the 2021 ATP Tour is set to resume with a normal schedule, with the Australian Open in early February marking the first Grand Slam Tournament to take place next year. Additionally, notable tournaments such as the French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open will resume next year with their normal dates.