Coronavirus Update: Which Sporting Events Are Canceled as NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA Suspend Season?

Empty ballparks and deserted arenas will be the new norm across the world, after the coronavirus outbreak has forced the suspension and cancelation of some of the most high-profile sporting events in the world.

The NBA, MLB, and NCAA have all opted to suspend or postpone their seasons, with European soccer leagues following suit. Golf and Formula 1 have also been called off, as have the majority of events worldwide.

Here's a round-up of which sporting events have been canceled and which will go ahead this weekend.


On Wednesday night the NBA announced the season would be suspended until further notice after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive to coronavirus.

"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday's schedule of games until further notice," the NBA said in a statement. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.''

Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell has since tested positive for COVID-19.


The NFL has canceled its annual meeting that was scheduled to be held in West Palm Beach, Florida, from March 29 through April 1.

However, it said on Thursday it has "no plans to move the start of the league year."


The NHL followed the path set by the NBA, suspending proceedings with just over three weeks and 189 games left in the regular season.

"In all likelihood, we weren't going to get through the rest of the season without a player testing positive," commissioner Gary Bettman said, adding he hoped the league "could return" at some stage this year.


Opening Day was scheduled for March 26, but the MLB opted to postpone it by at least two weeks, while the remaining Spring Training games have been canceled.

"MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible," MLB said in its statement.

A general view of the field after the spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12 in Jupiter, Florida. Major League Baseball is suspending Spring Training and delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Mark Brown/Getty


Having decided to hold March Madness behind closed doors on Wednesday, the NCAA went a step further on Thursday opting to cancel both the men's and women's basketball tournaments.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities."

Earlier in the day, one by one, the Power 5 leagues canceled their conference tournaments, followed by other smaller conferences. The Big Ten was the first major conference to cancel, with SEC and Big 12 adopting the same course of action and Conference USA, MAC, WAC, AAC, ACC, Pac-12 and Sun Belt following suit.

The decision impacts sports other than basketball, with all winter and spring championships canceled.


Like other major U.S. leagues, the MLS also opted to suspend the season for at least a month.

"Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials," the league said in a statement on Thursday. "At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events."

Earlier on Thursday, La Liga, Spain's top-flight soccer league, was suspended for two weeks and Real Madrid players were told to self-isolate due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The French and Italian leagues are also suspended, while a host of games in Germany are expected to go ahead behind closed doors. On Friday, UEFA—European soccer's governing body—announced all Champions League and Europa League games will not be played next week.

A number of games in both competitions were played without fans this week.

The Premier League is yet to confirm whether it will suspend the season, but Everton has placed its entire team in self-isolation, while Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi have tested positive for COVID-19 and three Leicester players are also self-isolating.


The PGA Tour decided to cancel the remaining three rounds of The Players Championship and the next three events on its calendar—the Valspar Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Valero Texas Open.

The PGA Tour had initially announced the first round of The Players Championship would go ahead as normal, while the remaining three rounds of its flagship event would be played without fans. Late on Thursday night, however, the organization altered its course and opted to call the sport off for the foreseeable future.

Formula 1

The Formula 1 season was due to begin this weekend in Melbourne, Australia, but organizers have called the race off after a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus. The decision was long and drawn out, with contrasting reports over whether the race would go ahead and fans were turned away at the gates.

"Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team's decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula 1 convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening," Formula 1 said.

Races in Bahrain and Vietnam, which were the next on the calendar, have also been called off.


NASCAR was among the notable exceptions, with races set ahead behind closed doors this weekend in both Atlanta and Miami.

On Friday, however, both events were called off.

Melbourne, Formula 1
A general view of the circuit before practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 13 in Melbourne, Australia. Robert Cianflone/Getty