In reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, officials in California’s Santa Clara County have banned gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the rest of the month – a decision that could affect three San Jose Sharks home games next week, including one with the Boston Bruins scheduled for March 21.

“We will be reviewing each scheduled event due to take place for the rest of the month and provide an update in the coming days,” the Sharks said in a press release on Tuesday. “We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests and partners during this unprecedented time.”

It is unclear whether the Sharks-Bruins game might be played before no fans or moved to a different arena. The Sharks have been averaging over 16,000 fans per game at home.

“Home ice advantage is always key,” Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner said when asked whether he’s rather play games at neutral sites with fans. “Whether it’s a neutral site game or if they decide something like that, it’s still nice to be in your home rink and your home dressing room. Be able to not stay in a hotel and go sleep in your own bed. There’s a lot of advantages to being at home.”

Games against the Wild and Senators had San Jose’s two smallest crowds of the season. The Sharks announced that 14,517 tickets were distributed for the March 5 with Minnesota and 14,694 tickets were distributed for Sunday’s game with Colorado. Seating capacity for Sharks games at SAP Center is 17,562, and the average-sized crowd in 36 home games so this season has been 16,427.

Santa Clara County’s decision came Monday evening, shortly after the public health department announced the death of a woman in her 60s, the county’s first coronavirus-linked death. The ban, which took immediate effect, will last until April 1. The county confirmed that six more cases had been diagnosed, for a total of 43 in the county.

In other moves related to coronavirus concerns:

• On Tuesday, The Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s postseason basketball tournaments, becoming the first Division I conference to take that step. Other Division I conferences have announced increased safety measure as March Madness ramps up; some Division I conferences have already completed their postseason basketball tournaments, while many of the bigger events have yet to begin.

Ivy League officials announced that Yale, the men’s regular season champion, would advance to the NCAA men’s tournament, which begins March 19. Princeton, the women’s regular season champion, will advance to the NCAA women’s tournament, which begins March 20. League officials added that they would “implement highly restrictive, in-venue spectator limitations for all over upcoming campus athletics events” and would cancel all out-of-season practices and competitions.

The Stanford women’s basketball team, ranked seventh by the Associated Press, is expected to host the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament from March 20-22 in Palo Alto, which is seated in Santa Clara County. Stanford is also scheduled to host games in several other sports this month; the school said Monday night that all events remain scheduled as of now.

• Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended that fans be kept away from all indoor sporting events. The state is home to the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, among others; the Blue Jackets said they did not plan to keep fans away from games this week.

The Mid-American Conference announced its men’s and women’s tournaments to be played in Cleveland this week would be closed to the general public.

• The Big West announced a similar move with its men’s and women’s tournaments.

The women begin play Tuesday night on the campus of Long Beach State. Men’s play begins Thursday at Honda Center in Anaheim. Both title games will be played at 18,336-seat Honda Center on Saturday night.

Also in Southern California, USC and UCLA said all of its home athletic events will be held without fans at least until April 10, or until further notice. That would include first- and second-round NCAA women’s tournament games likely to be hosted by UCLA.

• Scores of top-tier soccer games in Spain, France and Portugal, as well as some in Germany and a European Championship qualifying match in Slovakia, will be played in empty stadiums in coming days.

The Noord-Brabant province in the Netherlands called off all professional soccer matches for the rest of this week. The province includes Eindhoven, where the U.S. is scheduled to play the Dutch national team in an exhibition on March 26.

• In MotoGP, the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, was postponed until November. Bobby Epstein, chairman of the Circuit of the Americas track, said the decision was made by MotoGP because of global concerns over travel, most notably in Italy.


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