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Tonight’s SportsCenter special to cover return of sports, more

Major League BaseballThis should be worth watching: Tonight’s ESPN SportsCenter two-hour special will cover the return of sports in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, with MLB’s Rob Manfred set to join other sports-league leaders in the discussion.

Rob Manfred uses the occasion of this interview to express doubt about the 2020 MLB season actually happening.

MLB has chosen to resume play in home ballparks across the country, as opposed to MLS and the NBA, who will resume play in a closed-tournament setting at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Florida’s Disney World. Details of MLB’s return still need to finalized as talks have broken down between players and the commissioner’s office. Also to be discussed, according to ESPN: social justice reform efforts among leagues, teams and players that have come to the forefront following the death of George Floyd and with worldwide demonstrations calling for justice, equality and the condemnation of racism.

Joining Manfred tonight on SportsCenter Special: The Return of Sports will be Gary Bettman (NHL), Cathy Engelbert (WNBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Don Garber (MLS) and Adam Silver (NBA). Host Mike Greenberg will speak with each league commissioner about his/her sport and the approach to return. Topics will include the health and safety of players and workers, the economic impact and plans going forward, games without fans and potential broadcast innovations, the consequences and legacy of “asterisk seasons,” and the potential long-term impact of COVID-19. It begins at 9 p.m. ET.

“Since sports came to a halt three months ago, we’ve all been eagerly awaiting their return. In this SportsCenter Special, fans will hear directly from commissioners, managers and athletes about the decisions they’ve made and the challenges they’ve faced throughout this unprecedented time, and what the resumption of sports will look like over the coming weeks and months,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production, in a press statement.

Other voices expected to be part of The Return of Sports discussions include ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, athletes Calais Campbell (NFL/Baltimore Ravens – the 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year), Damian Lillard (NBA/ Portland Trailblazers), Patrick Kane (NHL/Chicago Blackhawks), Crystal Dunn (NWSL/NC Courage), Brianna Turner (WNBA/Phoenix Mercury) and Alejandro Bedoya (MLS/Philadelphia Union), Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, ESPN commentator and WNBA player Chiney Ogwumike, and ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman.

With daily 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 launched a 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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