President Trump believes the NFL season should start on time in September.
Trump said as much in a conference call with the commissioners of the major sports leagues on Saturday, and also said he hoped to have fans back in stadiums by August and September, according to ESPN, citing sources familiar with the call.
The NFL recently closed all of its training facilities due to the coronavirus, and adjusted its draft so that it would be held without fans. Professional sports leagues all over are on break due to the pandemic.
Trump also raised the idea of leagues working together to lobby for tax credits that would give the ability to deduct concessions and tickets from taxes, in order to help fans get back to the stadium quicker.
The president and the bosses of shuttered leagues discussed the impact of coronavirus on their business.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, MLB’s Rob Manfred, the NBA’s Adam Silver, Gary Bettman of the NHL were in on the call. They were joined by auto racing’s Roger Penske, Jay Monahan of the PGA tour, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Dana White of the UFC.
WWE exec Vince McMahon, a longtime Trump pal, was also on the line.
“The President recognized the good work being done by many teams and players to care for their communities, workforces, and fan bases across the nation,” the White House press office said.
Trump has held a series of in-person and virtual meetings in recent weeks with business honchos from the hotel industry, the banking sector, and more as part of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the shutdown of major sports events and thousands of firms nationwide.