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Coronavirus notebook

NBA starts campaign to raise money to help support workers

An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store. The league is launching a fundraising campaign to help offset the financial burden the coronavirus outbreak has place on some workers.Jeenah Moon/Getty

The NBA says it has launched a program called “NBA Together,” in which it expects to see more than $50 million raised and distributed by the NBA family “to support people impacted by the coronavirus and community and healthcare organizations providing vital services around the world.”

More than half of that money, about $30 million, has already been pledged by teams and players for various things related to the shutdown such as paying displaced arena workers.

The NBA said the program is built around four pillars that will focus on the latest global health and safety information, sharing guidelines and resources, working on mental and physical health, and keeping people socially connected during the pandemic.

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The league is also asking fans to combine for “1 million big and small acts of kindness” and wants fans to share those stories by posting photos and videos with the #NBATogether on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and star guard Luka Doncic are joining with forward Dwight Powell and the club’s foundation to pledge $500,000 to a Dallas hospital to help pay for day care for the children of health care workers amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

So far, almost 20 current and former players have partnered with the NBA and WNBA for public-service announcements to engage fans by supplying them with information about how to combat the new coronavirus and urging compassion and patience in these tough times.The league started these PSAs on March 13, two days after the NBA’s shutdown. In less than a week across all platforms — NBA.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok — the videos collected more than 36 million views, or reaching, on average, 70 people every second.

NWSL delays season

The National Women’s Soccer League is delaying the start of the regular season because of the coronavirus.

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The league announced Friday that it is imposing a moratorium on training through April 5, following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of that, the season will not start as planned on April 18.

The NWSL has not announced when the season might start. The league had already canceled its preseason matches.

“We are considering all possible implications for the preseason and regular season schedules while prioritizing the health and safety of our players, staff and fans,” the league said in a statement.

The nine-team league is embarking on its eighth season. Reign FC was scheduled to play the Washington Spirit at Audi Field in the season opener on CBS, the league’s new broadcast partner.

XFL cancels season

The XFL canceled the remainder of its return season because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The league played five games of a 10-game regular season in eight cities. It was a revival of the XFL that played one season in 2001.

Commissioner Oliver Luck released a statement saying the league had “no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season. This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority.”

The XFL had teams in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, and Tampa.

Luck stressed that the XFL will be back.

Bills, Sabres lay off workers

The parent company that owns the NFL Buffalo Bills and NHL Sabres has laid off a majority of its food services and hospitality staff as result of the new coronavirus pandemic.

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Pegula Sports and Entertainment vice president of hospitality Domnic Verni announced the layoffs in a statement released Thursday. Verni says the company is termporarily closing a majority of its hospitality operations.

PSE oversees the vast holdings of Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, which include several restaurants and bars, including a downtown Buffalo sports, entertainment and hotel complex.

The layoffs come at a time when local and state governments have ordered restaurants and bars be closed indefinitely to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Panthers told of positive test

The Florida Panthers were told by the Florida Department of Health that someone who works part-time at the arena where the team plays its home games has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The arena worker tested positive on March 15, is self-quarantined and receiving medical care. The Panthers were informed by state officials of the positive test on Friday.

The Panthers told all staff who may have come into contact with the employee during their shift, stressing a need to take all precautions and to report any symptoms to Broward County officials.

The employee who tested positive last worked at the arena March 8, when the BB&T Center played host to a concert.

Arkansas Derby postponed

One of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby is being postponed.

Oaklawn Park said Friday the Arkansas Derby will be pushed back from April 11 to May 2.

That’s the day the 146th Kentucky Derby was scheduled to be run, but it has been postponed until Sept. 5.

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Jockeys Irad Ortiz Jr. and Rajiv Maragh decided to stop riding while horse racing continues in some places without fans The men said the decision was best for their health and that of their families.

LPGA moves first major

The LPGA Tour has found a date for its first major championship. It is moving the ANA Inspiration to Sept. 10-13, and moving its Portland tournament a week later.

The ANA Inspiration was scheduled for April 2-5 in Rancho Mirage, California. It was among what now are six domestic LPGA Tour events that have been postponed because of the new coronavirus. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan added three more on Friday — Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the final three weeks of April.

Whan says the tour is working with its various partners on how to deal with postponed events.

The LPGA Tour’s last event was the Women’s Australian Open that ended Feb. 16.

MLS continues moratorium

Major League Soccer is extending the moratorium on team training activities through March 27 and is asking players to stay in their club’s local market during this time. MLS said team training facilities may be accessed only for physical therapy purposes at the direction of the team’s medical staff and must adhere to safety protocols. For now, the league is asking players to stay near their clubs and for international players to not leave the country and return home … Rugby has postponed the final rounds of the men’s and women’s world sevens series and canceled the men’s under-20 world championship in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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