Pritzker has spoken with major sports league commissioners and heard their desire to play games, initially without fans in attendance, he said. He's awaiting their official proposals to hold games within the state, which must be approved by Pritzker himself and his medical experts.
Pritzker believes Illinois will have the necessary coronavirus testing capacity and available resources to welcome sports back to the state safely.
"I want to see sports play," Pritzker said in response to a question that referenced a summer or fall timeline. "I think it's good for everybody. I think they can do it here in Illinois. Especially if you look at the timetable, there's a high likelihood they could do it within a timetable that we're hoping to be able to reopen many businesses."
The state of Illinois won't allow large-scale gatherings of any kind -- including at live sporting events -- until the Restore Illinois plan has reached its Stage 5, which requires a "vaccine, effective and widely available treatment, or elimination of new (coronavirus) cases over a sustained period of time through herd immunity or other factors."
MLB is prepared to send its return-to-play proposal for a 2020 season to the players' union "soon," ESPN reported earlier this week. Speculation persists that a second spring training could begin June 10 before Opening Day is conducted on July 1, with games being held in MLB ballparks across the country and played without fans.
The Bulls last played at the United Center on March 10, one night before the NBA officially suspended play. The Blackhawks played a game in Chicago on March 11, a day before the NHL suspended its season.
The NFL is planning to play its 2020 regular season without delay. The Bears' first scheduled game at Soldier Field is a preseason contest against the Browns the week of Aug. 13-17. The Bears' regular-season home opener is set for Sept. 20.