US sports take hit from coronavirus crisis

The NHL is among United States sporting competitions put on ice because of the coronavirus crisis

American sports have continued to be hit hard by the escalating coronavirus pandemic as several leagues announced complete suspensions or delays to the start of their competitive seasons.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) took the decision on Wednesday to suspend the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic," a statement said.

Ice Hockey's NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced it had temporarily suspended its season in a statement issued after a conference call with the board of governors.

Major League Baseball is also set to delay the start of the regular season and suspend spring training, ESPN reported on Thursday.

MLB has not had a mass postponement of opening games since 1995, when the season was shortened from 162 games to 144 following a seventh-month strike that also wiped out the 1994 World Series.

US Major League Soccer said it was suspending its season for 30 days, delaying the home opener for the expansion team co-owned by former England captain David Beckham.

Inter Miami, co-owned by Beckham and Jorge Mas, had been scheduled to play their home opener on Saturday.

The US Soccer federation also said it had cancelled upcoming matches for its men's and women's teams in March and April, as well as "the majority of our upcoming domestic and international camps at all levels".

Meanwhile, The NFL cancelled its annual spring meeting scheduled for March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, Florida.

And teams are curtailing or stopping scouting operations as a safeguard against the spread of coronavirus.

The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets have ordered their scouts and assistant coaches to return home.

Other teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, have cut back on scouting in what is usually a busy time for evaluating college players.

The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.

The Miami Open tennis tournament has been cancelled as the men's ATP Tour has announced a six-week suspension of activity.

Also in Florida, the PGA's Players Championship will continue without spectators on site from Friday.

NASCAR will race the next two weekends without fans.

The events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race.