DALLAS – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s newest expansion of economic reopenings should prove very exciting to professional sports fans in the state. ... unless you're a basketball fan.
Starting May 29, fans will be allowed at outdoor professional sports events in most Texas counties with a limit of 25 percent occupancy.
Before inviting spectators, the leagues must apply. But if you are a team that plays indoors, as the NBA's Dallas Mavericks obviously do? Not your turn yet.
"Each professional sports league that desires to reopen must first submit a plan to the Texas Department of State Health Services,” Gov. Abbott announced. “Spectators are allowed for outdoor events, provided that outdoor venues limit the number of spectators to no more than 25 percent of the normal operating limits of the venue as determined by the facility owner. Spectators are not permitted for indoor events. Each plan must incorporate these minimum health protocols to the greatest extent possible."
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Professional sports are allowed to resume in Texas starting May 31. The new rule does not provide an update for high school or college sports. It also excludes indoor professional sporting events, which means fans are not allowed in the American Airlines Center. The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs also play indoors - possibly a moot point, as the NBA and NHL are considering returning to play in “hub” cities.
That is a Texas NBA issue, however, as there had been speculation about the league using Houston as a "hub.'' That seems unlikely now.
The order does allow FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, Texas Motor Speedway, and the PGA Tour courses to be able to host fans in their facilities.
The PGA Tour is restarting its season in Texas on June 11-14. It previously stated no fans would be allowed and the most recent report by Brad Townsend says they will not have enough time to prepare to host fans safely.
What does this mean for the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys? Both teams play inside venues with retractable roofs. Is it unknown where the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium and the Rangers' new Globe Life Field (plus the Astros' Minute Maid Park, and the Texans' NRG Stadium) fall under the umbrella of the new COVID-19-forced rules.