Ask most Americans what they miss from their daily routine, and the answer is almost universal: sports. Aside from shutting down economies across the U.S., the pandemic has stripped people the joy of watching their favorite teams compete, leaving avid fans around the country in purgatory.
But that could soon change in Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced plans during a Wednesday press briefing to open up the Sunshine State to any professional sports team to resume activity.
“All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee. “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.”
NEW: Pro sports teams from any city are welcome to play in Florida, Gov. DeSantis says.
“We know that it can be done safely,” the governor says. pic.twitter.com/oQBZsgKV0j
— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) May 13, 2020
The governor said that although fans may be unable to participate in sporting events, he’s welcoming all teams from all professional leagues.
While the details are still up in the air, DeSantis said he wants to see professional basketball return from its hiatus, as well as a start for Major League Baseball (MLB).
“We want to have you here,” DeSantis said. “We want to have the basketball practicing again. We would love to have the Major League Baseball.”
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), professional sports are considered “essential services” and are allowed to resume in Florida, permitted they are closed to the general public.
DeSantis’ announcement comes days after the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the mixed martial arts juggernaut company based in Las Vegas, held the first major North American pro sports competition in Jacksonville over the weekend since the coronavirus shut down the sporting landscape in late March.
While the gate for the event was zero, the PPV was a raging success, with it drawing over 700,000 buys on ESPN+.