NBA, NFL, NHL & Company: Will We See Ghost Games When Seasons Resume?

Those who are familiar with the German language have probably heard of the word “Geisterspiele”. It best described the restart to the season in the country’s soccer elite tier (Bundesliga). If you’d want to translate the word to English, you’d use the “ghost game” term. It is a match played in front of empty stands, behind closed doors. This is suddenly what all sports fans will have to get used to, at least until the end of the year as nothing suggests the return of the crowd to the stadiums and arenas all over the globe, following the pandemic. But hey, we will at least have the luxury of watching our beloved stars on television. The latest news in regard to the restart of the competitions in the major American leagues is very optimistic and we are about to discuss them in this short review.

NBA set for a return in July

The National Basketball Association’s board of governors has accepted a plan that grants the return of the competition on July 31st. This is huge information for the sports admirers as well as for the bettors who will be able to place wagers at different bookmakers. Sports betting has generally seen massive growth in popularity in the country, especially in Indiana where BetRivers Indiana reported a serious rise in revenue before the coronavirus pandemic. Anyways, according to the plan, 22 of the league’s 30 teams would play matches at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The owners have approved it and we are only waiting for the players’ union to agree upon it and finalize the details. Disney World Resort campus site would host housing, practices, and games.

The format would include the top eight teams per conference plus six others that are within a six-game reach behind the eight-seeded outfit in the conference. The post-season would include a traditional format that would allow the season to be finished by October 12th.

NHL will proceed directly to the playoffs

The regular season in the world’s strongest ice-hockey league will, unfortunately, not be finished. There were 189 games left to be played before the shutdown caused by the global pandemic. The teams will, however, be in a position to fight for the Stanley Cup trophy through the play-offs. The NHL announced the “Return To Play” program in the following manner.

The top four teams from each conference will get a bye in the first playoff round. They will play each other in a single game to determine the seeds for the latter stages of the play-offs. Other teams will have to take on each other in the best-of-five series, with the following matchups:

  • Penguins v Canadiens
  • Hurricanes v Rangers
  • Islanders v Panthers
  • Maple Leafs v Blue Jackets
  • Oilers v Blackhawks
  • Predators v Coyotes
  • Canucks v Wild
  • Flames v Jets

The matches will be played at two hub cities (yet to be determined). Each team will be allowed to a maximum of 50 personnel. The fans will clearly not be allowed to attend.

Will the fans get the chance to visit the stadiums at the start of the new NFL season?

NFL will also have to adjust to the given situation. We are still waiting on the schedule and more detailed information as nobody is brave enough to claim whether the full 16-game season will be played in front of fans. The situation is similar to all other sports and competitions. For now, we are doomed for ghost games on every single part of the planet.