Governor Ron DeSantis Says All Professional Sports Are Welcome in Florida

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 testing site at Hard Rock Stadium, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that all professional sports leagues are "welcome" to play in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"There's been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have their season in Orlando. Do it. We want to have you here," DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday. "We want to have the basketball practicing again. We would love to have the Major League Baseball."

The UFC began hosting events in Florida with last weekend's UFC 249. Wrestling companies AEW and WWE have continued to broadcast throughout the pandemic because DeSantis declared them an "essential business." 

"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 ya in the state of Florida. Because we think it's important, and we know that it can be done safely,'" DeSantis said.

States like New York and New Jersey continue to be impacted by the high number of coronavirus cases, while others like California and Michigan have implemented stringent restrictions to slow the virus's spread. Los Angeles County's stay-at-home order is likely to last the next three months. 

That could mean states with less strict restrictions, like Florida, will wind up hosting sports franchises based in those areas. Major League Baseball and the NBA have been exploring ways to save their seasons, though they likely won't resume play before July.

Florida has more than 42,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,826 deaths.    

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