Coronavirus impacting major sporting events around the country

Posted: Updated:

The threat of coronavirus COVID-19 around the country is impacting some major sporting events.

Hockey fans at Tuesday’s New Jersey Devils game did show up to cheer on the team. But many said that being in large crowds and the fear of the virus was on their minds.

“I brought the wipes. I’m going to wipe down our seats and the area before we sit down, just to be careful,” says Geri Gulotta of Metuchen. “And we just washed our hands.”

Devils officials say that the organization is also disinfecting the arena. And they also advised several groups to stay home, including fans who are feeling sick or have any links to the virus or links to high-risk areas like China, Iran or Italy. People with breathing or heart problems were also asked to stay home.

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Devils officials would not agree to be interviewed on camera for this story. They did not say if anyone would receive refunds if they were unable to attend the game.

But this is an issue sports leagues around the country are struggling with.

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Princeton University was devastated to learn that the Ivy League Tournament would be canceled. This means that the school’s basketball team will not have a chance to make March Madness.

Head Coach Mitch Henderson said in a statement that the team’s three seniors “have been outstanding representatives of our program. I am heartbroken that they will not have another opportunity to compete on a national stage for our university.”

New Jersey native Bruce Aiken plays basketball for Harvard University. On Twitter, he called the decision to cancel the tournament “a horrible, horrible decision and total disregard for the players and teams.”

The NCAA Tournament is still on for now.

Reporters were not allowed near NBA star LeBron James on Tuesday. He attempted to lighten the mood during a press conference.

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“I miss you guys being right here. Like, right here in my bubble,” James joked.

But James said that if he had to play in an empty arena if the virus got worse, then so be it.

The Devils have not yet said if they would consider holding games without spectators.

"I would be curious about how they're going to compensate us for the money we spent, for the games but I can understand the health causes of it. I don't wanna get sick, nor do I want other people to get sick,” says fan Andrew Gil.

Devils officials say that they will go along with the NHL and state government. But a spokesperson for the team says that things are changing quickly.

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