‘We want ya’ here:’ Gov. Ron DeSantis welcomes pro sports teams to resume practice in Orlando

Sporting seasons majorly interrupted due to COVID-19 pandemic

Inter Miami MLS soccer team goalkeeper Luis Robles practices at the team's training facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) (Joe Cavaretta, Sun Sentinel 2019)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said he welcomes all professional sports teams to come to Orlando to resume practices, although fans will likely be left out of the equation.

“The one thing I am going to do, probably this week, is all professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said Wednesday in a news conference. “Now, we’re not going to necessarily have fans, but there’s been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have their season in Orlando. Do it. We want to have ya’ here."

Florida’s sports scene began seeing suspensions and cancellations just a little over a week after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the state on March 1.

Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season because of the coronavirus outbreak and suspended the rest of its spring training schedule.

DeSantis wants to see sports swinging once again, and wants it to happen in the Sunshine State.

“We want to have the basketball [teams] practicing again. We would love to have the Major League Baseball. I think the message is that our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives,” DeSantis said. “It’s an important part of people’s lives. So we want to be able to do that. I think we can certainly do that in a way that’s been safe. We’ve had UFC , these other things. There is a charity golf tournament in Juno Beach Sunday. The next week, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are going to be in Hope Sound.”

The governor said if teams are not welcome in other states to begin practicing again, they can come here.

“All these professional sports are going to be welcomed in Florida,” DeSantis said. “That may not be the case in every other state in the country as we’ve seen. What I would tell commissioners of leagues is if you have a team in an area where they won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you in the state of Florida because we think it’s important and we know it can be done safely.”

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About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.