COVID-19 Concerns Drive Nearly All Sporting Events To A Complete Halt

Posted on March 12, 2020

The past 24 hours have been a roller coaster for sports leagues across the country.

March is normally basketball’s time in the spotlight, but that might not be the case this year.

Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have forced several sports leagues to come to a halt.

Most sports leagues have canceled things altogether, while others are continuing things without fans present. 

What’s been canceled so far?

With March basketball in full swing, the NCAA has seen a lot of cancellations.

Here’s a look at what’s been taken off the board:

  • Big Ten Tournament
  • Big 12 Tournament
  • Big West Tournament
  • Big East Tournament
  • Pac-12 Tournament
  • SEC Tournament
  • ACC Tournament
  • AAC Tournament
  • Conference USA Tournament
  • Ivy League Tournament
  • MAC Tournament
  • MAEC Tournament

Late Thursday afternoon, the NCAA followed suit, canceling not only March Madness, but the remaining winter and spring sporting event championships.

The NCAA Tournament initially hoped to play with no fans in attendance. Instead, it is following suit by shutting down completely.

Professional sports have also taken a hit. Here’s how the pro sports leagues are handling things.

  • NBA: Season suspended indefinitely
  • NHL: Season suspended indefinitely
  • MLS: Season suspended indefinitely
  • MLB: Season suspended indefinitely
  • UEFA: Champions League suspended

What this means for Indiana sports betting

With so many sports seeing cancellations, Indiana could see a drop in its handle.

The Hoosier State is coming off a record-setting February in terms of the amount wagered.

Basketball betting fueled those numbers, but with so many games no longer happening, March likely won’t be as lucrative. March Madness was expected to bring in millions of dollars in wagers.

Although the situation isn’t unique to Indiana, it does come as a disappointment for operators and fans alike.

With pro and college sports on hold, bettors simply won’t have as many options as they were expecting to have this month.

Indiana’s sportsbooks respond

The public is being advised to stay home when possible and avoid crowded areas. Casinos might see a drop in their in-person visitors because of that. At least for now, BetMGM is still taking retail bets.

The sportsbook is also issuing refunds to gamblers who bet games that are now canceled. DraftKings has done the same for canceled NBA games.

That will likely be the norm for the rest of Indiana’s sportsbooks.

With more people staying home, betting online will be a natural move for a lot of Hoosiers.

Other events, such as the PGA Tour, have not been canceled. However, much like NASCAR, it will continue without spectators present.

That gives sports fans something to bet on in the meantime. The options are very limited compared to yesterday, though.

Future events to keep an eye on

The NFL Draft is also in doubt, even though it doesn’t take place for a while.

The Giants and the Jets have pulled their scouts and coaches off the road in the wake of coronavirus concerns. As more teams do the same, it’ll become increasingly difficult to have the draft.

However, the draft isn’t until April 23, so there’s still time for the situation to improve.

Another future event worth tracking is the Indianapolis 500, which doesn’t take place until May 24.

The race has seen its attendance numbers drop year after year. Since it draws in approximately 300,000 spectators each year, having the race without fans would certainly be a big blow to the Motor Speedway. But canceling it altogether isn’t out of the question either.

Even with the race so far out, speedway owner Roger Penske said that he’s taking things one day at a time.

Jake Garza Avatar
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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