Multiple sports leagues are examining ways to resume their seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced how he wants to help pursue this goal. Revealing on Wednesday that the state will be opened for any sports team needing a place to operate, those in New York, California or other states with restrictions in place will now be able to head to Florida.
DeSantis made this announcement during Wednesday's press briefing, disclosing how all sports teams are welcome to hold their seasons in Florida and that the state wants them. He specifically named Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, but opened the state to any league willing to make the journey. Although he did mention that there might not necessarily be fans at these events.
"There's been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have their season in Orlando. Do it. We want to have you here," DeSantis said Wednesday. "We want to have basketball practicing again. We would love to have the Major League Baseball. 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 that it can be done safely."
Wrestling events have been taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando amid the pandemic and have helped fill the void for some sports fans. The UFC also returned to action recently with an event in Jacksonville. Neither of these combat sports has allowed fans to attend due to health and safety concerns.
UFC president Dana White found Saturday's event to be a major success despite having one fighter test positive for the coronavirus. He told TMZ that other leagues have been reaching out for advice about how to safely hold fanless events. He is also planning on a safe return to Nevada, the home of the MMA league.
"The leagues have reached out," White said on TMZ Live ... "Different states have reached out to us. And, we're going to share this information with everybody. ... I have a 30-page document that we submitted to the Governor of Nevada and the Governor of Florida on how to pull this off safely. Now we've got one under our belt we're willing to share our information with anybody."
According to DeSantis, fans are "starved" for live sports, and he is striving to bring them back. He has opened Florida to any team willing to make the journey in hopes that baseball, basketball and other sports will return to action. Whether any teams take him up on the offer remains to be seen.