California Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated Monday that sporting events could soon be allowed to take place within the state:
"Pro sports in that first week or so of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions also can begin to move forward...if we hold these trend lines in the next number of weeks," Newsom said.
The governor had previously released a four-stage plan in April for re-opening the state from its stay-at-home restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stage 3 of the plan included sports without a live audience, while Stage 4 would feature sports with fans back in attendance.
Newsom's update earlier this month made it seem unlikely that teams will be able to play in front of fans in the near future.
"It's difficult for me to imagine a stadium that's filled until we have immunity, until we have a vaccine," he said, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
California has had more than 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 deaths as of Monday, per CNN.com.
Though the re-opening of the state could remain gradual, the latest update could have a significant impact on all major American sports leagues.
MLB owners reportedly approved a scenario where the regular season will begin in July with each team playing in their home stadium, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. With five teams located within California, the state's willingness to allow sports to resume is vital to the MLB season functioning as planned.
There are also three NFL teams in the state. As of now, the NFL plans to begin its regular season as scheduled in September.
The four NBA, three NHL teams and three MLS teams from California could also play a role as each league examines restarting its season.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced his willingness to work with sports leagues Monday, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis echoed a similar sentiment, telling The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala that his state is "certainly ready as soon as the leagues are ready."