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How the coronavirus is affecting sports. Leagues preparing to play in front of empty arenas

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Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 22:04:14-04

Most major sporting events are set to continue despite the spread of coronavirus nationwide, but that does not it will be business as usual.

Leagues from coast to coast are planning to begin playing competition with fans being locked out in some venues.

Here is a roundup of how sports will be impacted:

College basketball: On Wednesday, the NCAA announced its decision to ban fans from all upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournament games. The men’s tournament alone draws nearly 700,000 annually.

The NCAA’s assembled panel on coronavirus said that with the potential that people in large gatherings could spread the virus, the panel recommended that all upcoming championships be played without spectators.

The good news here is the games will still be televised, and those who like to fill out brackets will be able to do so.

The Big Ten Conference also announced that fans will be excluded from this weekend's men's basketball tournament games. The ban goes into effect Thursday. Fans are allowed to attend Wednesday's games in Indianapolis.

The BIg 12 Conference is also barring fans from its postseason tournament starting Thursday.

Also announced on Wednesday, the College Basketball Invitational tournament (CBI) was canceled altogether. The event is for teams who fail to qualify for the NCAA and NIT Tournaments.

The Ivy League also previously canceled its postseason conference tournament.

NHL: Due to an upcoming ban of large gatherings in Ohio, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced upcoming home games will be played without spectators. The Blue Jackets said it will play all home games without fans until the governor’s ban is lifted.

The first game to be impacted will be on Thursday as the Pittsburgh Penguins play in Columbus.

NBA: The NBA has confirmed its season has been suspended after a player has tested positive on Wednesday for coronavirus.

"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz preliminary tested positive for COVID-19," the NBA said in a statement. "The test result was reported shortly prior of tonight's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight's game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena."

"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."

ESPN reported that the player that tested positive was Jazz star Rudy Gobert.

MLB: With a large gathering ban in Seattle, the Mariners said that they will not play their first six regular season home games in Seattle. The club said it is looking at other options, including relocating games rather than playing them without spectators.

Also abiding by the city of San Francisco’s ban on large events, the Giants said that their final exhibition game will be canceled. The Giants first regular season home game scheduled for April 3 is still scheduled to be played in Oracle Park.