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Northwoods League 2020 season opener postponed

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The Northwoods League has delayed the start of the 2020 season due to state shutdowns ordered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as summer-collegiate leagues continue to respond to an uncertain year.

Earlier this week Gov. Tony Evers announced an extension of Wisconsin’s “stay-at-home” mandate through May 26, the date the Northwoods League season was to launch, but the press release issued by the league preempts that possibility. “Given the state of Wisconsin has extended its ‘Safer at Home’ order through May 26th, a League-wide opening day of May 26th is no longer possible. The League will continue to consider multiple scenarios as each state determines its policies, always predicated on the assumption that adequate safeguards can be put in place in ballparks in states where there are no restrictions on large gatherings in order to assure fan, player and personnel safety.

“However, each of those options are limited by the extension of stay at home orders in a given state, and when such an extension occurs in various states throughout the League footprint, each scenario must be adapted to fit the evolving circumstances.”

The league did not announce a potential start to the 2020 season. Currently Minnesota’s stay-at-home order runs through May 4, though Gov. Tim Walz is pondering an extension. Michigan is also under a stay-at-home order through April 30.

We are also seeing other impacts on other summer-collegiate circuits and teams. The Lafayette Aviators (Prospect League) will not be able to launch their season until July 1, with their temporary home, Purdue University’s Alexander Field, closed due to a campus-wide shutdown through June 30. The Valley Baseball League has canceled the entire season, while we’re seeing other teams suspend operations. All in all, summer-collegiate leagues across the board are grappling with the potential of shortened seasons, extended seasons into the fall and teams facing serious revenue shortfalls.

With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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