U.S. President Donald Trump said at his press briefing Saturday that he hopes fans can return to sports games “whenever we’re ready” and wouldn’t commit to having stadiums and arenas filled by the end of the summer, which he reportedly said in a call with major-league commissioners earlier in the day.
“I want fans back in the arenas … whenever we’re ready, I mean, as soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball, and baseball and football and hockey,” Trump told reporters.
“They want to get back. They gotta get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it,” said Trump earlier in his availability.
ESPN‘s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Saturday that Trump told commissioners that he hoped to have fans back at games by August and September.
Trump reportedly also said he believes the NFL season “should start on time in September.”
The call included 13 league commissioners, among them the NHL’s Gary Bettman, NBA’s Adam Silver, MLB’s Rob Manfred and NFL’s Roger Goodell.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted a statement following the completion of Trump’s call.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters Saturday that he doesn’t anticipate sports being played with fans in the stands by September in his state, contrary to Trump’s reported comments.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the plan for the call was “to discuss charitable contributions and how the leagues would help those dealing with coronavirus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought most of the sports world to a halt for the last three weeks, as only White’s UFC and MacMahon’s WWE are the only organizations still hosting events.