Social sports leagues on hold, scaling back as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin has a wide variety of sports leagues to choose from, but many have had to shut down or scale back significantly because of COVID-19.

Matthew Bentley used to spend his Thursday nights playing recreational sports, but when the pandemic hit, those nights opened up for him.

“We were signed up for a City of Austin league and they canceled it,” Bentley said.

“Tex,” the vice president of Ultimate Players League of Austin, said the pandemic has forced the league to make big adjustments.

“As each week went on, we were like we are really going to have to make some large changes,” Tex said.

They shut down in February, and have not played a game since.

“We are not bringing in any money,” Tex said.

Tex says they aren’t losing a lot of money because most of their finances go toward renting city and county fields, and they aren’t doing right now.

“We are in a holding pattern,” Tex said.

Marc Tucci with Austin Sports and Social Club says it had to cancel many of their leagues, but some sports are still available.

“Pickleball has been a really big one for us, the sports that just work better in the current environment,” Tucci said.

Tucci says if you can social distance they can make it happen, but the pandemic has taken a toll.
Some employees have been laid off since many of the leagues were put on hold.

“Our passion is sports just like the people who are playing and when we can’t offer what we have it’s tough to run at full speed like anyone else,” Tucci said.

For now, all eyes are on the number of COVID cases and a safe return to the sports they all love.

“We know how important it is and being able to do it safely is paramount,” Tucci said.

UPLA set up a return to play chart which shows when they can begin playing again.

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