Mike Florio of NBC Sports wrote today that United States President Donald Trump held a conference call with sports league commissioners and that call included both Dana White of the UFC and Vince McMahon of WWE. According to Florio’s reports, there was speculation Trump’s messaging could be, “Find a way to play your games.”
He suggested that because both WWE and UFC were finding ways to put on their respective shows, he might instruct leagues like the NHL and NFL to do the same. From what we understand, that was not an accurate report.
The big difference is that the NHL, NBA, NFL and other leagues like it have too many players on the area of play at one time to not violate CDC regulations and health codes. What UFC and WWE does cannot and would not apply to leagues like the NHL. They have total control over who is in one building, who is in one ring/cage and how they control their product with minimal people.
Instead, it appears Trump was giving all the leagues an idea as to when they could expect a return to play.
“He also told commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic.”
He also told the leagues to apply for tax credits available. Schefter writes:
Trump also raised the idea of the leagues working together to lobby for tax credits that used to exist for entertainment expenses, such as the ability to deduct concessions and tickets from taxes, sources said. That would be a way for leagues to jumpstart fans’ ability to return to stadiums in a difficult economy.
In the end, it sounds like Trump held the call to encourage the pro sports leagues and teams to continue to help those in need during the COVID-19 Pandemic and he talked about ways to alleviate financial stress and kickstart the economy back up as soon as it was possible to do so.