By now, you’re probably tired of watching ACC football replays from 2004. We get it. We’re here to assure you that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The coronavirus pandemic halted American sports for the better part of four months, but now they’re coming back in full force. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of every major sporting event for the remainder of 2020. Needless to say, it’s a lot to keep track of. Get ready for the busiest fall of your sports watching career.
Major League Baseball
Opening Day – Thursday, July 23
Yes, the baseball season is happening. 60 games, 40 of which will be played between divisional opponents. Empty stadiums. You get the gist. Here’s what an MLB game without fans looks and sounds like (any highlights from old Marlins Park will do the trick as well):
Postseason begins – Tuesday, Sept. 29
Same format as usual, but things can change. Maybe a neutral site World Series is in the cards?
Regular season resumes – Thursday, July 30
Action from “The Bubble” will begin on July 30th. Each of the 22 teams that made the trip to Orlando will play eight regular season games before the playoffs begin on August 17th. The Indiana Pacers get things started against Philly on August 1st.
Notable Pacers games (all regular season broadcasts will be aired on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan):
- August 1 v. 76ers
- August 8 v. Lakers
- August 12 v. Rockets
Playoffs begin – Monday, Aug. 17
Unlike other leagues, the NBA is sticking with their standard playoff format. That won’t make the action any less compelling.
NBA Finals (target date) – Wednesday, Sept. 30
Stanley Cup Playoffs begin – Saturday, Aug. 1
24 teams will battle it out for Lord Stanley’s Cup in two Canadian “hub cities”, Toronto and Edmonton. Play initially resumes with a best-of-five Qualifying Round for seeds five through twelve in each conference, coinciding with round robin play for each of the eight top-four seeds. Once the final 16-team bracket is set, each series is best-of-seven until a champion is crowned. Expect the Stanley Cup Finals to be played in late September or early October.
PGA Championship – Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 6-9
U.S. Open Championship – Thurs.-Sun., Sept. 17-20
The first major of the 2020-21 season kicks off at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. Gary Woodland is the defending tournament champion.
2020 Masters Tournament – Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 12-15
Two questions: What will Tiger do for an encore, and does Augusta National look even more pristine in the fall?
MLS is Back Tournament Championship – Tuesday, Aug. 11
UEFA Champions League Final – Sunday, Aug. 23
The two best teams in Europe square off in a winner-take-all final in Lisbon, Portugal. If you’re remotely interested in soccer, this game is a must-watch.
Indianapolis 500 – Sunday, Aug. 23
“This is August” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but we’ll have to settle for 500 miles in the summer heat nevertheless. Better make sure that milk is extra cold.
IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix @ IMS – Saturday, Oct. 3
A third race at IMS was added to the revised IndyCar schedule for 2020. Scott Dixon will try to follow up his 4th of July win with another solid performance on the road course.
U.S. Open – Monday, Aug. 31-Sunday, Sept. 13
There’s growing concern that this event will feature far less star power than we’re accustomed to seeing at a major, but at least we’re playing tennis. No fans, no Roger Federer, and no awkward pre-tournament concert. It’s all business in appropriately named Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Bianca Andreescu and Rafael Nadal were the champs in 2019; Nadal will be looking to tie Federer’s record 20 career Grand Slams this time around.
French Open – Sunday, Sept. 27-Sunday, Oct. 11
The lone clay court major on tour will take place just two weeks after the U.S. Open wraps up. Quite the grueling schedule after such a long layoff from competition. Nadal captured his 12th French Open title in 2019 while Ashleigh “Ash” Barty claimed her first Grand Slam victory on the women’s side.
Kentucky Derby – Saturday, Sept. 5
“Aaaaand they’re into the stretch.” You can catch Larry Collmus’ call of the 146th Run for the Roses on Labor Day weekend this year. Pick out your best clothes and start searching for that mint julep recipe.
Preakness Stakes – Saturday, Oct. 3
Breeders’ Cup – Friday & Saturday, Nov. 6 & 7
This year marks just the second time Keeneland will play host to the Breeders’ Cup festivities. Mike Smith leads all jockeys with 26 Breeders’ Cup victories, including this incredible ride on Zenyatta back in 2009:
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Sunday, Sept. 13
It’s becoming more and more likely that this will be Philip Rivers’ first game action as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL has proposed to eliminate the preseason entirely, and it’s only a matter of time before that proposal becomes reality. Will the Colts’ six-year winless streak in regular season openers finally come to an end?
Of all the events on this list, college football appears to be in the most danger of not happening. The Big 10 has already cancelled all nonconference games, while the PAC 12 has been dealing with growing concerns of a player-led boycott. And when the Power 5 can’t get it’s act together, that spells trouble for everyone else.
Notable IU games:
- September 4 @ Wisconsin
- October 24 v. Michigan State
- October 31 v. Penn State
- November 7 @ Ohio State (capping off a brutal three-game stretch)
- November 21 @ Michigan
- November 28 v. Purdue
Notable Purdue games:
- October 24 @ Michigan
- November 7 @ Minnesota
- November 14 v. Wisconsin
- November 21 v. Iowa
- November 28 @ Indiana
The first college basketball games of the 2020-21 season are set to tip off in early November. Don’t hold your breath. Alternatives include moving the season up to the end of October, waiting until January, or cancelling proceedings altogether. Stay tuned.