As pro-Chicago sports put on hold due to coronavirus, local businesses worry
CHICAGO - Professional sports games are being put on hold as the U.S. rushes to stop the spread of the coronavirus, meaning the start of baseball season in Chicago -- which is a celebrated spring tradition -- is being delayed.
"It sucks. I really want to come out to the baseball field,” said fan Troy Burrow.
There was disappointment outside Wrigley Field Thursday as fans learned Major League Baseball has suspended spring training and put Opening Day on hold for at least two weeks, and likely longer if Governor JB Pritzker has his way.
COVID-19 will take a big bite out of businesses that depend on the Cubs and White Sox.
At Sports World across the street from Wrigley, there is thousands of dollars in new merchandise and no fans to buy it.
"Well safety first is obviously always the biggest concern. It's disappointing that we have to push it back. And you know there isn't much I can do, it's out of my hands,” said Sports World co-owner Bradley Rosen.
In a matter of hours, the virus wiped out a wide spectrum of sporting events and put the Blackhawks on ice. The NHL is suspending its season indefinitely and Major League Soccer is doing the same for at least 30 days.
The NBA season is also on hold after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus.
The PGA Tour has also canceled its tournaments through April 5.
Sports author and lawyer Eldon Ham says athletes and owners stand to lose millions of dollars, but don't have any choice.
"Some of the unintended consequences and side effects of all of this are all kinds of endorsement deals, incentive clauses in contracts, making the playoffs or not making the playoffs,” he said.
Back at Wrigley Field, crews continue to prepare the ballpark for Opening Day, whenever that day may come.
"I'm a sports nut. I think a lot of Chicagoans are. But I think this Coronavirus...It's bigger than sports at this point. And better be safe than sorry I guess,” said fan Tim Geraty.