Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support to get sports back up and running took another step forward on Sunday, as he encouraged New York’s professional sports teams to begin working out.

Cuomo, while speaking during a news conference at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, said all New York professional sports teams – like the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders (plus his beloved Bills) – can start training in the state beginning immediately.

The governor has been adamant about reopening facilities to sports teams for weeks, which is a good sign for the Mets and Yankees as they hope to open the regular season at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium by early July. But sources told the Daily News that both teams plan to begin spring training at their respective facilities in Florida, instead of New York.

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said. “I believe sports can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena. Do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up.

“We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”

The Jets and Giants train in New Jersey and both teams would be subject to state regulations.

Cuomo’s permission doesn’t mean much for the Knicks and Nets, either.

Most of the Knicks and Nets players have left the area during the coronavirus pandemic. Although over half the NBA’s teams have opened their practice facilities, the locations for the Knicks and Nets remain closed.

The NBA has only approved voluntary workouts with social distancing rules at practice facilities.

The NBA is in negotiations to resume its season in Orlando this summer. According to ESPN, some teams have petitioned the NBA to conduct training camp at that bubble site in Orlando rather than at their respective practice facilities. Executives from the Knicks and Nets reportedly are among the teams that expressed concern to the NBA.

Beyond the training camp conundrum, it’s unclear whether the Knicks will be called to Orlando since they’re out of the playoff picture. Among the proposals to resume the season is jumping right into the playoffs and leaving behind the lottery-bound teams, like the Knicks.

The Rangers and Islanders in theory can return to work in New York in preparation for the NHL’s proposed 24-team playoff tournament this summer. But the NHL is not ready to bring players back.

“The League has yet to inform teams when they may reopen their facilities for informal workouts and formal training camps,” an NHL spokesperson told the Daily News.

Major League Baseball executives remain optimistic that spring training can begin in mid-June for a three-week period, followed by a potential Opening Day in early July. The weather this time of year should allow teams like the Yankees and Mets to take Cuomo up on his offer to begin spring training at their home stadiums. But both teams already have a number of players, including Mets Manager Luis Rojas, stationed near their spring camps in Port St. Lucie (Mets) and Tampa (Yankees).

Working out in Florida, as opposed to a COVID-19 hotbed like New York City, also offers a less densely populated and more controlled environment.

Cuomo’s sign-off to begin training is encouraging for MLB’s proposed regular season, but the league and Players Association must first reach an agreement on health and safety protocols and salary issues. A public back-and-forth between the league and the union has underlined both parties’ financial concerns. The groups hope to straighten out those affairs in the coming days, according to industry sources.


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