SPORTS BRIEFS

SOCCER

Germany removes fans

German Chancellor ’s government on Wednesday ordered the Bundesliga and professional sports in Germany back behind closed doors as part of a string of measures to curb record-high COVID-19 numbers. The latest measures would come into effect from Monday next week until the end of next month after Germany announced a record high of 14,964 new cases in the previous 24 hours. Since the Bundesliga season started in the middle of last month, Germany’s soccer clubs had been allowed to host small numbers of fans for home games, providing each local health authority granted permission.

ICE HOCKEY

AHL pushes season back

The American Hockey League (AHL) is planning to drop the puck on its next season on Feb. 5 in hopes of syncing its schedule with the NHL and attracting fans to arenas for most, if not all, of its 31 teams. AHL president and CEO Scott Howson said that “everything’s on the table” when it comes to divisional alignment, formats and how many games are played, although beginning in early February answers one question after it became unrealistic to start the season on Dec. 4 as initially planned because of the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This gives us the best chance to have a significant season with fans in the building and we’ll just see what happens here in the next two months,” Howson said. The AHL is the top minor league affiliate for the NHL, which is targeting a Jan. 1 start for the season.

ATHLETICS

Boston Marathon moved

Next year’s Boston Marathon is to be moved from its traditional slot in April until later because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said on Wednesday. The prestigious event — which was canceled this year for the first time in the race’s 124-year history — is usually held on the third Monday in April, attracting thousands of runners from across the globe. However, the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement that next year’s event would be postponed “until at least the fall of 2021.” No date for the rearranged race was given.

BASKETBALL

NBA revenue plummets 10%

NBA revenue fell 10 percent to US$8.3 billion for this year’s season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN reported on Wednesday, saying that the league lost US$800 million in ticket income alone. Citing financial numbers shared with league clubs and obtained by ESPN, the report said the NBA lost US$400 million in sponsorships and merchandise. The cost of a split with China of a long partnership over post on Twitter by then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was put at US$200 million of “net negative impact,” according to the report. Losses would have been much worse had the NBA not completed the season and staged the playoffs in a bubble in Orlando, Florida, sources told ESPN, adding that US$1.5 billion in revenue was recovered by restarting the season even though expenses for the bubble were US$190 million, US$10 million more than first estimated. The details emerged as the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association talk over possible start dates for the next season and financial terms to update the collective bargaining agreement.

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