In spite of virtually every major sporting event in the United States and Canada being shut down due to coronavirus, the WNBA still hopes to have its season – and its draft begin as scheduled.
The league issued a statement regarding the outbreak and did not announce any cancellations – including to the draft scheduled for April 17th in New York City.
WNBA Statement Regarding COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/Lj5d8TVaqU
— WNBA (@WNBA) March 12, 2020
The “further details will be shared later this month” line at the end of the statement indicates a veiled optimism that all systems will be go and that the effects of Covid-19 on the WNBA will be minor at best. Many of the sports and non-sports shutdowns being reported are lasting until later in the month or to April, creating a best-case scenario that the worst of this epidemic will subside by that time.
A worst-case scenario has also been presented that the season may not occur at all, especially with coronavirus announcements coming from the NBA, G-League and 2K League regarding suspensions or cancellations. Some experts believe the crisis could last for possibly the remainder of the year and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio believes the fight against coronavirus could last for as long as six month, possibly having an effect on New York Liberty games at Barclays Center this season.
At a recent luncheon with Washington Mystics owner Ted Leonsis at the National Press Club, Engelbert hinted that it would be held with fans present – something the draft has not had since 2016 when it was held at Mohegan Sun (the home of the Connecticut Sun) in Uncasville.
The immediate concern is the numerous amount of WNBA players that are overseas and will soon be on their way stateside for the beginning of the 2020 season.
In addition, the Atlanta Dream, Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm issued statements on their respective websites.
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) March 12, 2020
Statement from the Sparks. pic.twitter.com/4GH8g1mZ1O
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) March 12, 2020
A Message to Chicago Sky Fans
— Chicago Sky (@wnbachicagosky) March 13, 2020
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) March 11, 2020