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Coronavirus and sports: A timeline of how COVID-19 stopped and then restarted the sports world

Amed Rosario #1 of the Mets bats during

Amed Rosario #1 of the Mets bats during an intrasquad game in front outfield cutouts of fans in the seats at Citi Field on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted every facet of life, from the health and safety of the world’s population to countries’ economies and the general psyches of our citizens.

It also disrupted the sports calendar, a usually rhythmic sequence of games and events sports fans have come to know, understand and adore.

Here’s a timeline of how the sports world reacted and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 10, 2020 through now.

March 10

Ivy League presidents canceled its postseason basketball tournaments and deemed the regular-season winners — Yale men, Princeton women — as the automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournaments. The next day, the conference unanimously voted to suspend all spring sports.

March 11

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, and the NBA suspended the season indefinitely upon conclusion of that night’s games.

March 12

The NHL's Board of Governors suspended the season indefinitely. While six spring training games were in progress, including the Yankees vs. Nationals, MLB suspended spring training and delayed the start of the season until April 9 at the earliest.

The Big East conference tournament started at noon, with St. John’s facing Creighton in the quarterfinals. At halftime, with the Red Storm leading 38-35, the Big East joined the other major conferences and canceled its tournament. In all, 13 conferences canceled their tournaments.

The unprecedented move of canceling the men’s and women’s basketball tournament came a day after the NCAA had announced the games that were scheduled to start next week would go on but be played in mostly empty arenas. A few hours later, after some conferences had canceled or postponed spring sports, the NCAA shut it all down for the school year.

MLS suspended its season for 30 days. In a two-for-one move, NYCFC also saw its debut in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament get put on hold as well.

After the first round of The Players Championship concluded, the PGA Tour canceled the rest of golf’s "fifth major" as well as the Tour’s next three events.

March 13

Augusta National delivered the next blow to the American sports calendar when it postponed The Masters, golf’s first major tournament scheduled for April 9-12. No timetable for its return was given. The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20, was postponed and moved to Sept. 14.

March 14

With all other sports canceled, postponed or suspended, the UFC moved ahead with its fight card in Brasilia, Brazil, with no fans in attendance.

March 15

UEFA postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches indefinitely.

March 16

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred informed teams that the league will follow the CDC’s recommendation to avoid large gatherings for at least eight weeks, pushing Opening Day into late May or early June.

The NFL announced there will be no public events in Las Vegas as part of the April 23-25 draft. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the draft would take place as scheduled and be televised, although it remained uncertain how it would be conducted.

UFC fight cards set for March 21 in London, March 28 and April 11 in Las Vegas, after being moved from Columbus, Ohio, and Portland, Oregon, respectively, get postponed.

The WWE moved its marquee event, WrestleMania, from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to the company’s performance center in Orlando. WrestleMania 36 became a two-day event April 4 and April 5. No fans would be in attendance.

March 17

The PGA postponed the PGA Championship, which was scheduled for May 11-14 in San Francisco. A new date was not announced.

Churchill Downs moved the Kentucky Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5, marking just the second time in the race’s 145-year history that it would not take place on the first Saturday in May.

In a decision the French Tennis Federation president called "difficult yet brave," the French Open is rescheduled from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4.

UEFA European Championship gets moved back a year to the summer of 2021.

March 18

The ATP and WTA canceled all of their tennis tournaments through June 7.

March 19

MLS extended season suspension through May 10, while England’s Premier League and all other domestic soccer matches were suspended through April 30.

March 20

After suspending games on March 12, the rebooted XFL canceled its inaugural season and freed its players to sign with NFL teams immediately instead of making them wait until the original date of April 27.

The National Women's Soccer League announced it was delaying the start of its season, originally scheduled for April 18.

March 24

As pressure mounted from all sides, the IOC postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

March 26

The NFL confirmed that its draft will go on. "The draft itself will be conducted and televised in a way that reflects current conditions," Goodell wrote in a memo to teams, adding that they should plan to do the draft "in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters."

Baseball's owners and the MLBPA reached an agreement on a series of issues regarding the delayed season, including prorated salaries, full service time and a shortened draft.

The WNBA announced it will keep its televised draft on schedule for April 17 and move to a "virtual draft," using video conferencing.

March 30

Olympics are rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.

April 1

For the first time since World War II, the All England Club canceled Wimbledon.

April 3

The WNBA announced a delay to the start of its regular season from its planned May 15 opening tipoff. No new date was announced.

The Premier League suspended play indefinitely and players were asked to take salary cuts.

April 6

The British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George in England, was canceled by The R&A, while the Masters was rescheduled for Nov. 12-15.

April 17

The WNBA completed the first virtual draft, attracting a 123% ratings increase over the previous year's traditional draft. The Liberty selected Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu with the first overall pick.

MLS again extended its season suspension through June 8.

April 23-25

The NFL conducted its first virtual draft with record-breaking viewership over the three-day event.

May 16

The German Bundesliga resumed play behind closed doors, becoming the first major soccer league in Europe to do so.

May 26

NHL announced its plan for a return to play with a 24-team playoff tournament behind closed doors.

May 27

NWSL announced its plans for the NWSL Challenge Cup, a cup format tournament set to begin the following month in Utah.

May 28

The Boston Marathon, originally moved from April to September, officially was canceled and replaced with a virtual event.

June 4

The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to resume the season with 22 teams in a bubble environment at Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on July 31.

June 8

NHL players returned to team facilities in small groups of no more than six.

June 10

MLS announced plans for the MLS is Back Tournament to be held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Format scheduled to include three regular-season games followed by knockout tournament.

June 15

WNBA announced its plans for a shortened 2020 season to be played in a bubble environment at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

June 17

The Premier League returned to play behind closed doors.

June 22

After two months of fruitless negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA, owners unanimously voted to impose a 60-game schedule.

The Orlando Pride withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup before departing for Utah after six players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

June 23

MLB and the players' union agreed to health and safety protocols for the season.

June 24

The New York City Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 1, was canceled and replaced with a virtual event, marking the second time the event was not held since its inception in 1970.

MLS teams began arriving in Orlando bubble for MLS is Back Tournament.

June 27

NWSL Challenge Cup play began at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, making women's soccer the first American team sport to return to play.

July 1

MLB players reported to summer training camp in their home markets.

July 6

FC Dallas withdrew from MLS is Back after 10 players and one staff member tested positive for COIVD-19 after arrival in Orlando.

July 7

NBA teams competing in resumption of season entered league's Orlando bubble.

July 8

Group play began in MLS is Back Tournament.

July 9

Nashville SC withdrew from MLS is Back Tournament after nine players tested positive for COVID-19.

July 10

NHL confirmed it reached agreements with NHLPA to host games in Edmonton and Toronto beginning Aug. 1

July 23

MLB held Opening Day as the Yankees faced the Washington Nationals in the first game of 2020. MLB also announced plans for an expanded 16-team playoff following the season.

July 25

WNBA's 2020 season began in its "wubble" at IMG Academy.

July 26

NHL teams competing in expanded Stanley Cup Playoffs arrived in hub cities.

July 27

The Miami Marlins' home opener was postponed after mutlitple players tested postive for COVID-19 during a three-game series with the Phillies. The Marlins eventually confirmed 21 cases among players and coaches. The team resumed play on Aug. 4.

The NFL announced the cancellation of all its preseason games this season.

July 30

NBA resumed regular-season play with seeding games ahead of Aug. 17 start of playoffs.

Aug. 1

Qualifying round of expanded 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs began in NHL's hub cities.

Aug. 6

Play began in the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the first major golf tournament in over a year.

Aug. 11

Portland Timbers defeated Orlando City SC to win MLS is Back Tournament.

Aug. 20

MLS resumed its regular season in home markets as part of a phased return.

Sept. 28

The Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, beating the Dallas Stars for their second championship.

Oct. 6

The Seattle Storm completed a three-game sweep of the Las Vegas Aces in the "wubble" in Florida, winning the team's second WNBA title in three seasons and fourth in franchise history.

Oct. 11

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, concluding the NBA season after more than three months in the Orlando bubble.

Oct. 12

Baseball fans were able to watch from the stands for the first time in 2020 as a limited crowd of 25% capacity was allowed in for the NLCS at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Fans also were allowed at the World Series in the same location later that month.

Oct. 27

The Dodgers beat the Rays in Game 6 of the World Series to capture their first championship since 1988. During the eighth inning, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was removed because of a positive COVID-19 test result. Despite his removal, Turner joined his teammates on the field for celebrations.

Nov. 12

The Masters began without fans in Augusta, Georgia, the first time the historic tournament was held in November. Dustin Johnson won his first Masters on Nov. 15.

Dec. 12

Columbus Crew SC defeated the Seattle Sounders in the 2020 MLS Cup, winning 3-0 for the club's second championship and ending the MLS season after nearly 10 months.

Dec. 15

NYCFC played the second leg of its CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against eventual champion Tigres UANL, losing a two-game aggregate series that began on March 11.

Dec. 22

The NBA began a shortened 72-game regular season in home markets. The postseason will include a play-in tournament for each conference involving teams ranked Nos. 7-10.

Jan. 9, 2021

The Buffalo Bills hosted approximately 6,700 fans for their AFC wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts after receiving special permission from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The game was the first professional sporting event in New York with live fans since March 2020.

Jan. 13

The NHL began a modified 56-game season featuring temporary division realignment, including a single division for all seven Canadian teams because of border restrictions. All games will be played among teams in the same division until the semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Feb. 7

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Kansas City in Super Bowl LV for their second championship, becoming the first franchise to win a Super Bowl in its own stadium. Just under 25,000 fans attended, 7,500 of them vaccinated health care workers from the Tampa area.

Feb. 10

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that beginning Feb. 23, New York arenas and stadiums with seating of at least 10,000 can admit up to 10% of their capacity, with social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements.

Feb. 23

Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center welcomed back fans for the first time in over 11 months, as 2,000 fans watched the Knicks lose to Golden State and 300 spectators saw the Nets defeat the Sacramento Kings. The Garden hosted Rangers fans once again on Feb. 26 for a victory over the Boston Bruins.

March 10

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order allowing businesses in the state to operate at 100% capacity takes effect, and Texas Rangers president of business operations and CEO Neil Leibman said the team hopes to be at that for their home opener on April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

March 11

The Islanders will host 1,000 health care workers from Northwell Health at Nassau Coliseum. It will be the first Islanders home game with fans in attendance in more than a year. The Isles will host up to 1,400 fans at their March 18 game.

New York Sports