The WNBA has delayed the start of its season indefinitely because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The league was due to begin training camps on April 26 and start the regular season on May 15. A “virtual” Draft, which will be broadcast on ESPN, is still planned for April 17.
A planned month-long break, scheduled during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which has been postponed until 2021, will now no longer happen, providing some scheduling leeway.
“As developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extension of the social distancing guidelines in the United States through April 30, the WNBA will postpone the start of its training camps and the tip of the regular season originally scheduled for May 15. While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees.
In the meantime, the league and our teams remain focused on preparing for the upcoming virtual WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm on April 17. Top prospects will take part remotely live on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. This virtual draft allows players who have worked so hard to have their dreams realized when they hear their names called and provides teams with the opportunity to build their rosters in anticipation of the day that we can move forward with our season.
We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to our players, fans, and all of those in the community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are grateful to those selfless health care workers and first responders who work tirelessly on the front lines,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.
A disappointing announcement as WNBA season 2020 was set to be one of remember after a successful campaign last season with the growth of the WNBA league and its popularity across the board. The 2020 WNBA season was also set to feature the first-ever Commissioner’s Cup tournament, an expanded schedule with 36 games per team and an increase in nationally televised games.
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