Disney has just announced that the rumored deal with Major League Soccer is a go and they will resume the MLS 25th Season at Walt Disney World. It’s being called the “MLS is Back Tournament” and it will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from July 8 to August 11.
The “tournament will include all 26 of the MLS clubs competing in a continuous schedule of 54 total matches that will take place nearly every day. The matches will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings, and the tournament winner will also earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.”
Of course there will be no spectators as they are focusing on the health and safety of the players and coaches as well as the staff, crew and Disney Cast Members working the event. According to Disney “MLS players and staff will follow specific medical protocols, including regular testing, throughout the tournament.”
Here’s the information from the MLS Soccer page:
“All 26 MLS clubs will travel to Orlando via charter plane and must arrive no later than seven days before their first match.
Prior to traveling to Orlando, all essential members of a club delegation must undergo two Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”) tests 24 hours apart. Players will also undergo a baseline serology (antibody) test as part of a physical exam that also includes a temperature check and the completion of a screening questionnaire. PCR tests detect an active COVID-19 infection, typically via a nasal swab or saliva test. Serology (antibody) tests detect the presence of antibodies in response to a COVID-19 infection.
MLS is partnering with BioReference Lab to provide and process PCR tests and antibody (serology) tests for all clubs prior to travel, as well as on-site in Orlando during the competition.
Individuals who test PCR positive will not travel and will be isolated and overseen by club medical staff. Contact tracing will also be triggered to identify close contacts. Individuals who test PCR negative but serology positive may travel to Orlando if they are asymptomatic.”
Here’s the prevention list they are giving:
“In addition to the screenings and testing described above, an MLS task force has worked with leading experts to create guidelines and best practices to help reduce risk and prevent spread of COVID-19. These include:
- Wearing face coverings / face masks;
- Social distancing;
- General hygiene (Ex. avoid touching face, washing hands frequently, avoid sharing food, bottles, towels or equipment);
- Cleaning and sanitization (disinfecting surfaces).
The Walt Disney World Resort and the Swan and Dolphin Hotel will be providing enhanced cleaning of all venues and enforcing appropriate capacity-management and other social distancing guidelines.”
I’m sure this will work out for Disney and they will get all kinds of great footage for ESPN and Disney+. Just like they are rumored to be after with the NBA deal.
Interestingly enough, we previously reported that The Swan and Dolphin would be closed until the end of July, but now it sounds like the teams are staying at the Swan and Dolphin resorts, which could explain the closure, even though the games would occur into August.
What do you think? Comment and let us know.