Canceled sports bracket: Vote for the sporting event you’ll miss most this spring

So, this is a world without sports.

Myriad events have rightfully been canceled or postponed over recent weeks as several leagues chose to prioritize the safety of players, coaches and fans amid coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. It’s a hard truth, but sporting events must take a back seat to public health.

That doesn’t mean we won’t miss them.

But because we at Sporting News write about sports, and because they sometimes take on a tribalistic nature, we’re going to find out exactly which sport we’ll miss the most. More accurately, you will — via SN’s social poll. Since we’d normally be coming off the first weekend of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, it only makes sense to do this tournament-style.

So, what will be a part of our missed sports bracket? Because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, SN decided to limit events that either take place or start in June. So the 2020 Summer Olympics, tentatively set to start in late July, won’t be a part of our bracket.

With that, let’s take a look at the regions, seeding for which was determined by SN’s panel of experts:

Madness Regional

Rundown: There’s no doubt March Madness takes the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament. This is the first time since the NCAA Tournament began in 1939 that it has been canceled, leaving a massive hole in the American sports conscience in its wake. But you can’t discount the popularity of the Kentucky Derby, which is as much a social event as a sporting one. It will take on the indefinitely postponed NFL OTAs and minicamps. While they’re not “events” per se, they provide fans a glimpse at new additions, such as Tom Brady with the Buccaneers or Darius Slay with the Eagles. The XFL rounds out the Madness region after it canceled its inaugural season with plenty of intrigue remaining in 2020.

Swing Away Regional

Rundown: A tradition unlike any other takes the No. 2 overall seed, but finds itself in much the same boat as every other sporting event. We’ll just have to wait to eat our pimento cheese sandwiches in Augusta. The 2-seed Stanley Cup playoffs have added intrigue, considering several ideas have been floated as to how the NHL’s postseason will take place with a truncated season. It will take on 3-seed College World Series, which has produced three-game championship series in five of the last six seasons in Omaha. MLS rounds out the “Swing Away” region as a regionally based underdog — but there’s no denying interest has increased in recent years.

Nice Weather Preferred Regional

Rundown: MLB’s is a long season, but its Opening Day is so prevalent in the U.S. sports lexicon that it claimed SN’s third No. 1 seed. The MLB opener will face off against canceled/suspended college football spring games, which are more interesting to fans of individual teams than sports fans in general. This region also introduces a compelling first-round matchup in NASCAR vs. the French Open. The former has suspended its usual operations, pivoting to iRacing in the meantime. The French Open, the second major of the ATP tennis tour, has been postponed till September. Spain’s Rafael Nadal has won the event each of the last three seasons.

Euro Step Regional

Rundown: The NBA playoffs claim SN’s final No. 1 seed with a postseason that remains, at best, in the air. The NBA is hoping for a return to play in mid-to-late June, which is normally when the playoffs would be going strong. The playoffs will take on boxing, which has seen several bouts large and small postponed or outright canceled. Rounding out the first-round matchups is the 2020 Champions League vs. Euro 2020. The Champions League is particularly interesting, considering it was midway through the Round of 16 when COVID-19 forced its postponement. But Euro 2020 is a strong contender considering it’s played once every four years and it won’t be played till 2021. We’ll get to see what fans are more loyal to: Their individual club, or the nation’s team.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA Tournament

Round 1

Madness Regional

Swing Away Regional

Nice Weather Preferred Regional

Euro Step Regional

Regional finals

Madness Regional

Swing Away Regional

Nice Weather Preferred Regional

Euro Step Regional

Semifinals

Final

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