Professional sports teams can once again hold their training camps in New York State, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Speaking at a press conference at Jones Beach today, Cuomo said any restrictions on team activities have been lifted. The decision comes as the NBA and NHL ponder a return to action, which would potentially mean a return by the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders for training.
The New York area’s two NFL teams, the Jets and Giants, train in New Jersey, while the Mets and Yankees baseball teams both train in Florida.
The easing on group gatherings raises the possibility that at least some sports teams may play regular season games in the state. The NBA said Saturday it is targeting holding its games at a single site in Orlando. The Knicks practice in Westchester County in New York, while the Nets train in Brooklyn. The NBA has so far only approved voluntary workouts at team facilities.
Major league baseball has also contemplated holding its games in Arizona and Florida until the pandemic eases around the country. The NHL has not approved a return to training for its teams as it contemplates whether its regular season and playoffs will continue.
“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said. “I believe sports can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena. Do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up.
“We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”
Despite the lifting of restrictions on training, there are still many hurdles in the path of leagues returning. Such issues as whether games will be held at a single site, what happens if someone on the team contracts the coronavirus, how many people will attend the games, and salary issues for the players in an abbreviated season are just some of the questions being raised.