Ballparks in Florida and Arizona were locked down and Major League Baseball encouraged players to go home.
The Premier League and the Champions League were suspended. The French and German leagues also dropped plans to play this weekend, placing all five of Europe’s biggest national competitions on hold. Men’s Olympic qualifying also was suspended in soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region.
The Greek Olympic committee suspended the rest of its torch relay because of an “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away. The handover of the Olympic Flame to the Tokyo organizing committee will go ahead as scheduled on March 19 at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. No spectators will be allowed to attend that ceremony.
NASCAR called off Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend’s events at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both events had been scheduled to be run without spectators. IndyCar suspended its season through the end of April.
NCAA vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt told the AP the organization briefly considered having the selection committee choose the top 16 teams in the country, regardless of conference, to participate in a condensed tournament at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, site of the Final Four.
The NHL said it was telling its players and staff to stay away from the rink and self-isolate. Commissioner Gary Bettman would not put a timeframe on the league’s hiatus and did not rule out the possibility of games in empty arenas.
The NFL placed a ban on in-person visits between teams and draft prospects. After Friday, all 32 teams will be permitted to conduct telephone and/or video conference interviews with prospects through the day before the draft, which is scheduled to begin April 23 in Las Vegas.
UFC proceeded with plans to hold a fan-free event Saturday night in Brazil. The promotion still plans to stage a full fight card with fans inside London’s O2 Arena next weekend and has moved events scheduled for March 28 in Ohio and April 11 in Oregon to Las Vegas.
Nepal’s government announced that it was suspending climbing permits for Mount Everest and all other peaks in the country. The decision effectively shuts down the world’s tallest mountain since China already closed its side of Everest over similar fears.
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