Start Up in Place

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    • The NWSL is closing in on a finalized plan to return, while the MLS, NBA and NHL move closer as well.

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As leagues develop plans to return to play, many are counting on a centralized location to ensure the safety of players and staff. The National Women’s Soccer League has chosen Salt Lake City as its preferred spot for a month-long tournament set to start June 27 before returning to a regular schedule this year.

All nine of the league’s owners have voted in favor of the proposal, which would see games played at facilities operated by the Utah Royals FC ownership group. CBS Sports, which signed a three-year deal with the NWSL this offseason, would broadcast the games.

Single location start-ups are all the rage. The Premier Lacrosse League will replace its 2020 season with a single-site tournament that is set to start July 25.

MLS is far along in talks to send all 26 teams to Orlando to play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Orlando, and specifically Walt Disney World, is also beginning to separate itself in discussions as a site for the NBA to resume play, though many variables remain. Disney is also a broadcast rights holder for the NBA and MLS.

Las Vegas is reportedly still a front-runner for NBA action, which may develop into a West vs. East dynamic with Orlando. The NHL has narrowed its list down to “eight or nine locations” which could each host up to 12 teams if the league were to resume play. The league has been considering a 24-team playoff format upon its return.