Major League Soccer may have to suspend the remainder of the 2020 season depending on how long the pandemic remains in North America.
Life as we know it is going to be a little different over the coming weeks and months. Most of the World has been instructed to stay inside for the time being and nobody knows when it will end. There are various simulations that show when we might be able to return to everyday life. Some say the pandemic will be over in a month while others claim that early 2021 is how long it will last.
If we were to look at the worst-case scenario, there is no feasible way for the MLS (or sports in general) to return. The MLS isn't going to play games behind closed doors because its teams would make no matchday revenue. Plus, it's a logistical nightmare to have to test players and staff before every single game. It just doesn't make any sense. Instead, the league is going to have to wait it out. Unfortunately, in this scenario, waiting it out could mean no MLS (or sports) until early 2021.
I say this because there is no way the league would be able to open their stadiums to the public. This is purely down to the nature of the virus. If people can go 2 weeks without showing symptoms, and still be infected, it's basically impossible to know who has it unless everyone were to get tested every day. Since it's impossible to know who has it, it's also impossible to allow people to meet in big groups as the spread will just restart.
It's highly unlikely this is all over in a month or two. I personally believe that we are all underestimating how long this might take to go away. The fastest solution is obviously for everyone to sit still and not go anywhere for two weeks but again, this is an impossible task. Whether it is because there are essentials that need to be available or because some people just won't listen, there are always going to be ways for the virus to spread.
If stadiums can't be open and leagues don't want to play behind closed doors, the only thing left to do would be to suspend the season. It's a hard decision for so many reasons. Players will lose a whole year of their already short playing career, players will lose a whole year's worth of salary, many staff members of the stadiums will be laid off, TV contracts will have to be paid back, etc. etc. etc. For me, it's either play behind closed doors or suspend the season. There's no in-between.
I sincerely hope I'm wrong though. If I am, that means this pandemic will have gone away and we can start to get back to normal life. However, I just don't see that happening at the moment. I think this could go into October or November if we aren't careful. If that's the case, there's no way the MLS resumes. It might as well just start the season in late January or early February and go from there.
How long do you think the virus will last?