The NWSL halted preseason play after just one week on March 12, the same day virtually every professional sport across the U.S. also went dark.
Like other properties, the NWSL and its first-year Commissioner Lisa Baird were left to monitor an escalating global pandemic while considering how to bring back competitive matches safely in the age of COVID-19. Ideas for how to resume play were first kicked around in early April, with each proposal emphasizing the shortening of the 2020 season.
On May 5, the league presented the NWSL Challenge Cup, a 25-game tournament, to its competition committee and ownership group. The NWSL then announced its return in Utah at month’s end, following the evaluation of several bids submitted by teams and cities eager to host the tournament.