In a period when professional sports has struggled with finding locations for events, Gov. Ron DeSantis has a solution.
Bring your teams to Florida to practice, or to play games even. Just don’t expect fans to be on hand.
“All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and playing,” DeSantis said. “We’re not necessarily going to have fans.”
DeSantis added that his office is working on ways to also revive youth sports in the state.
The Governor, addressing reporters in Tallahassee Wednesday, urged Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer to bring their contests to the Sunshine State.
“There’s been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have its season in Orlando … do it. We want to have you here. We want to have the basketball practicing again. We would love to have Major League Baseball.”
His comments came after the Washington Post reported that Major League Soccer is looking to house players in large resorts near Disney World as a way for games to resume for all 26 teams in Orlando.
“The message is ‘our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives,'” DeSantis said.
The Governor mentioned Ultimate Fighting Championship matches, such as UFC 249 that aired from an empty arena in Jacksonville, as well as charity golf contests to be televised later this month.
“All these professional sports are going to be welcome in Florida,” DeSantis vowed. “That may not be the case in every other state in the country as we’ve seen.”
Major League Baseball owners and the players union are also in talks over an owners’ proposal for an 82-game season starting in early July, with games played in home stadiums in areas that have local and state government approval.
Professional baseball earlier considered a proposal to start the season by having teams play at their spring training sites in Florida and Arizona.
“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 them,” DeSantis said. “We think it’s important and we know it can be done safely.”
The Governor has rhapsodized about televised sports on myriad occasions during the coronavirus crisis, saying people have been “starved for content.”
“People are chomping at the bit,” he said after green-lighting WWE and NASCAR events last month. “If you think about it, we have never had a period like this in modern American history where you’ve had so little new content, particularly in the sporting realm. I mean, we are watching reruns from like the early 2000s.”
Content from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.