Florida Designates “Professional Sports” As An Essential Service

Professional sports, along with many other industries, have closed their doors doing their part to flatten the curve in the face of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The government of Florida, however, has now opened the door to allow certain sports to resume operations in their State designating them as ‘essential services’.

In a memorandum dated April 9, 2020, first reported by ESPN, Governor DeSantis listed various organizations exempt from the State’s temporary emergency shutdown including some sporting activities.

Specifically the order lists “professional sports…with a national audience” provided those events are “closed to the general public”.

The language is broad enough that basically all pro sports are covered so long as they have a ‘national audience’.

Interestingly the order only speaks to sports ’employees’ not to ‘independent contractors’ being exempt.  The government’s initial list of ‘essential services’ did list various types of independent contractors.  Given that the norm in combative sports is for fighters to be considered independent contractors a fair question arises as to whether fight promotions can take advantage of this exemption based on its current wording.

The full order reads as follows:



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