Gov. DeSantis: Pro sports teams from other states welcome in Florida

UFC already holding second of three events at Vystar Memorial Arena.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has a message for sports teams who could be facing an extended return to business in their home state.

You’re welcome in Florida.

The governor said on Wednesday that the state would be open to serving as a host to pro sports teams from other states who may be locked out from playing in their areas as precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state is currently in Phase 1 of its return to reopening things. Both Clay and Duval county officials have said in recent days that they see a move to Phase 2 of the recovery process very soon.

"What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida,” he said during a news conference.

Could that happen?

Major League Baseball has proposed playing an abbreviated schedule at spring training sites in Florida and Arizona as one option to return. Fans wouldn’t be permitted at games.

That news could wind up as very good news for franchises who play in states that have struggled to get the COVID-19 pandemic under some form of control.

As an example, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times, that gatherings such as sporting events or concerts may not be permitted until 2021.

Gov. DeSantis’ remarks about Florida serving as a host to pandemic-displaced franchises comes shortly after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said that professional sports can resume without fans on Saturday.

“We want to have you here,” DeSantis said. “We want to have the basketball practicing again. We would love to have Major League Baseball.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.