Florida governor willing to host teams for restart of sports

In this March 30 photo, cars line up at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site in front of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Nobody can say with precise certainty how many coronavirus tests that the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball would need before those leagues can resume playing games.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is willing to be a restart site for professional sports leagues, just like Arizona, when play resumes following coronavirus shutdowns.

“One thing I am going to do, probably this week, is all professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference Wednesday. “Now, we’re not going to necessarily have fans.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said a day earlier that his state is open to games without spectators for all the major sports starting Saturday.

MLB’s opening day was pushed back from March 26. Half of the 30 teams hold spring training in Florida, and MLB has considered plans in which teams would use their spring training ballparks if they are not allowed to play at their regular-season homes.

The NBA, NHL and MLS were interrupted because of the pandemic and are trying to formula plans to finish their seasons.

“All these professional sports are going to be welcome in Florida. That may not be the case in every other state in this country, as we’ve seen,” DeSantis said. “And so what I would tell commissioners of leagues is: “If you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida because we think it’s important and we know it can be done safely.”

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