The WNBA will be the next league to begin play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a shortened regular season beginning in July.
Under the current plan, teams will report to Florida’s IMG Academy in early July and a 22-game regular-season will tip off in late July without fans after a team training camp period, according to league officials. Regular season matchups and times will be announced at a later date, with ESPN, NBA TV and CBS Sports Network telecasting live games.
“We are finalizing a season start plan to build on the tremendous momentum generated in the league during the off-season and have used the guiding principles of health and safety of players and essential staff to establish necessary and extensive protocols,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement. “We will continue to consult with medical experts and public health officials as well as players, team owners and other stakeholders as we move forward with our execution plan.”
The WNBA follows soccer’s Premier League and the NWSL -- as well as the NHL and NBA -- in announcing a return to live play over the next two months.
The announcement also comes as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN Monday night that he’s “not 100% confident” that the league would play in 2020 after the players and league owners failed to come to an agreement over finances and safety protocols for a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s just a disaster for our game ... it's important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans,” Manfred said during ESPN’s The Return of Sports special.