After months of shutdowns, a few sports leagues are starting to return to action amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

By Claudia Harmata
June 11, 2020 02:03 PM
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The sports world came to an abrupt halt in mid-March as the coronavirus began infecting millions across the globe.

As countries quickly tried to contain the spread, major sporting leagues were forced into extensive shutdowns to protect their players and fans.

In the United States, the NBA was the first major sports league to suspend its season after several players and staff tested positive for the virus. They were quickly followed by several other major North American leagues, including the NHL, MLB and NFL.

After nearly three months on pause, a few leagues are finally making their return. However, they may not look the same as teams and athletes adjust to a "new normal" that may see "fan-less" sporting events and stricter social distancing measures.

Here are the sports you can watch right now:

UFC

The Ultimate Fighting League became the first organization to make a public return, holding the UFC 249 tournament on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida, without any fans in attendance.

All of the league's events remain on-schedule moving forward, with added precautions to keep athletes and staff safe. This upcoming Saturday, June 13, will see a UFC Fight Night in Saskatoon, Canada, featuring match-ups between Jessica Eye and Cynthia Calvillo, Karl Roberson and Marvin Vettori, Jordan Espinosa and Mark De La Rosa, and more.

Fans are still not allowed to attend the events in-person but can watch on ESPN and ESPN+.

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GOLF

The PGA Tour had a restart date on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

When announcing their decision to restart, organizers said that events will take place without fans, for the time being.

While the British Open has been canceled, the PGA Championship is scheduled to take place August 6-9, the U.S. Open will run September 17-20 and the Masters will take place November 12-15.

Fans can typically watch events on the Golf Channel and CBS.

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NASCAR

In April, the racing league announced their return to the track with Cup Series competition on May 17 at the Darlington Raceway.

Earlier this week, NASCAR revealed its plans to slowly reintroduce a limited number of fans at select NASCAR Cup Series races —  beginning with their next event on June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, followed by a June 21 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

A full schedule of events is available on their website. Races can be watched on local FOX channels or on fuboTV, Sling or Hulu + Live TV.

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Sports expected to restart in coming weeks

A few other sporting leagues have also announced their restart dates in the coming weeks and months.

The NBA recently approved a 22-team format for their return, with a tentative start date of July 31 with the finals ending no later than Oct. 12.

Earlier this week, the MLS announced the MLS Is Back Tournament that will feature all 26 teams and begins on July 8. The competition will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, just outside Orlando, Florida. The games will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, as well as the MLS Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The NWSL similarly revealed they will host a 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup in Utah, which will kick off June 27.  It's expected to end with the championship game on July 26. All of the games can be streamed on CBS All Access and will re-air on CBS Sports Network.