NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - Premier League Lacrosse is planning a two-week, quarantined and fanless tournament starting in July, as teams and leagues across North America navigate an uncertain path forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the year-old league’s 2020 season postponed indefinitely, co-founder Paul Rabil told Reuters the PLL Championship Series will be broadcast on NBC Sports platforms but played in an empty stadium. “The first hurdle that a lot of leagues were trying to figure out is, ‘Can we estimate a time where we can get back with fans?’ and the answer is just no,” Rabil said.
“The safest way of going about performance and competition is by rolling out a fully quarantined model.”
The tournament is expected to take place from July 25 through Aug. 9, with participants quarantined in a single location under medical oversight.
While the location has yet to be determined, PLL has narrowed its search to roughly half a dozen potential venues.
The PLL, which has just seven teams, has “power in fewer numbers,” Rabil said.
The league began considering the idea of a quarantined competition after the NBA suspended its season in March, before kicking the idea into high gear during the first week of April.
“We are quite familiar with rebuilding and building from scratch so that’s been our approach,” Rabil said.
The PLL, which Rabil said averaged per-game attendance of about 13,000 fans in its inaugural year, has put in place an external medical team that includes two internal medical professionals and two infectious disease specialists to build on-site testing protocols.
The tournament offers a window into how other North American leagues could potentially navigate quarantined competitions, with the NBA, NHL and MLB all trying to find a way back after putting their seasons on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.
NASCAR plans to resume its season on May 17 without fans at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, the first of seven races planned over 11 days, while the NFL said it plans to kick off its season as scheduled on Sept. 10.
Most Americans said they would avoid large sporting events or concerts until a proven coronavirus vaccine is in place, a recent Reuters poll showed, with many states across the country still observing lockdown procedures to slow the spread of the outbreak. (Reporting by Amy Tennery Editing by Toby Davis )