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As Governor limits mass gatherings and NBA suspends season, a long pause (up to six months?) for the Barclays Center and other venues

It's a new day, and the city and state and sports leagues, if not the federal government, are taking the coronavirus very seriously, as are museums and other large buildings. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that, as of today at 5 pm, gatherings with 500 people or more will be banned in New York State.

Additionally, for facilities with an occupancy of 500 or fewer, legal capacity is being reduced by 50%.

It's unclear how long that will last--here's the press release. But Mayor Bill de Blasio, who declared a state of emergency, had some estimates.

“This is for over 500 people, and so they’re never going to have events at those places under 500 people," he said, citing venues like Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. "It’s not a binding commitment, but we’re saying, our estimate is, this will go through September. That’s six months. I think that’s the right way to think about it right now.”

No one's said so, but I could imagine large venues being repurposed, at least in part, for health care/triage purposes, as part of the vast societal crisis and experiment that we are going through.

Also, it's not impossible that some events might be held at MSG or Barclays, solely for broadcast purposes, with no fans. The UFC sure wants to hold the mixed martial arts event planned for Barclays next month, and could move it (or, perhaps, hold it without fans).

Separately, the NBA suspended its season for at least 30 days, and the NHL did so for an unspecified time. Given that the New York Islanders had only two games left at Barclays in its season, which skewed to the Nassau Coliseum (and they'll play next year only in Nassau), GM

In response to a tweet from Nets player Spencer Dinwiddie, "Gotta take care of the non salary arena staff etc," Joe Tsai, owner of the team and the arena operating company, responded, "we're working on a plan!" Other team owners, led by the Dallas Mavericks' Mark Cuban, have announced they'd compensate workers.

New York Times focuses on Wall Street
Barclays slow on the uptake

As of 5:15 pm yesterday, the Barclays Center was tweeting in response to queries from ticketholders that "As of now the event is still taking place as scheduled," as shown in the screenshot at right.

However, as of three hours earlier, Cuomo had banned gatherings with 500 people or more. Later, Barclays did retweet that Billie Eilish was postponed, but otherwise did not mention Cuomo's action.

Concert promoters take action

The New York Times reported yesterday:
Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Presents, the corporate behemoths that dominate the concert industry, on Thursday suspended all tour engagements in North America in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two people with direct knowledge of the companies’ decisions.
That included Billie Eilish and Celine Dion. The presenters were expecting to "re-evaluate the situation in April, in the hope of restarting for the lucrative summer season." That obviously could vary depending on the city.

Arena availability

From John Hollinger in The Athletic:
This could be a major factor in any scenario where the league season pushes into July and August. The NBA requires teams to have their arena available for a given number of dates through late June, but after that the arenas can book away to their heart’s content. Some arenas will be jam-packed with concerts, monster trucks, ice shows and who knows what else during these months.
...That doesn’t even get into the other part of this – the WNBA. Many WNBA teams play in the same arenas as their NBA squads. Would they be pushed out of their games to make room for the boys? That would be a bad look, to say the least.
One genuine possibility to get around the arena availability issue, especially as we get into summer: Day games.

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