What Would It Take For Sports Fans To Feel Safe?

The American sports world has largely been shut down since mid-March, when the NBA suspended its season and most other major leagues followed suit. But momentum has been building for the sports to make their comeback — in some form. MLB is set to propose its return plan to the players union this week, and NBA team practice facilities are beginning to reopen right now. Baseball is reportedly targeting early July for its opening day, while NASCAR and the PGA Tour are scheduled to return even sooner. 1 With or (far more likely) without fans in the stands, our sports-less odyssey is about to end, at least for now. To help gauge how fans feel about these developments, FiveThirtyEight partnered with the market research firm Ipsos to conduct a poll of 1,109 Americans in early May,2 tracking their attitudes on sports’ long absence and impending return — and what it would take for them to watch a game in person against the backdrop of a pandemic.

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