In news that is hopeful but hey, you truly never know, MLS announced Friday they are planning to kick off the 2021 season in early March.
“Based on the crowded international calendar next year, we are targeting to start our season in early March as usual,” MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said Friday as reported in The Athletic. ”The restrictions on our ability to have fans in our stadiums this year contributed to very significant financial losses. Like all leagues, we are concerned about those restrictions continuing for a second year and are continually evaluating how to manage through the impact of the pandemic in 2021.”
The 2020 season started earlier than any in league history, at the tail-end of February, but the shutdown of all sports two weeks into the season stopped the games in MLS for over three months. The MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando revived the season in the summer, before the teams returned to the local phase of play in mid-August, wrapping up the regular season last week.
As Abbott’s quote indicates, there is absolute uncertainty as to what the future will bring, however. The country is bracing for another spike of coronavirus infections, one that may or may not be complicated by the presidential change scheduled for January.
The Los Angeles NBA teams have already announced they will start the upcoming season without fans in attendance, something that may be somewhat different in MLS because the LA Galaxy plays outdoors as opposed to the Lakers and Clippers playing indoors, but that is to be determined.
Abbott’s comment, however does push back on a recent rumor which claimed the MLS powers were mooting whether to wait until April or even May to start the next season. That could still happen, of course, but it looks like the current plan is to start next season around the same time they start every season. We’ll see if it comes together as planned.
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