MIAMI - The megastorm expected to create massive problems along the Eastern Seaboard over the coming days is already affecting sports.
Weather concerns prompted former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to postpone a scheduled Tuesday appeals hearing that he was to oversee in the New Orleans Saints' bounty-related case, with no new date immediately announced.
And the Boston Celtics will make their first road trip of the NBA season a day earlier than planned, choosing to fly into Miami on Sunday instead of Monday in an effort to beat the storm.
High school events along the East coast — from Florida to North Carolina, New Jersey to Massachusetts — also have been either rescheduled or postponed because of the storm, which was blamed for more than 40 deaths in the Caribbean before it began churning north. In Florida, several college soccer matches in recent days were affected, as were some elements of the Miami Heat weeklong celebration that ends with Tuesday's start of the NBA season.
Even gambling will feel a hit: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered that Atlantic City's 12 casinos be evacuated Sunday afternoon.
"We have to be prepared for the worst," Christie said.
Tagliabue is expected to announce a new date for the Saints' hearing in the coming days. Meanwhile, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is monitoring the storm's path, but did not anticipate a need for any changes to this weekend's schedule.
Philadelphia is also expected to get hit by the storm, though the 76ers do not expect their Wednesday opener at home against Denver to be adversely affected.
"I am told that even with a very bad storm, the game will go on schedule," Adam Aron, the 76ers' CEO, wrote in response to a question he received on Twitter.
Forecasters expect the worst of the storm to affect a huge swath of the East on Monday and Tuesday. Up to 2 feet of snow is predicted for West Virginia, a flood watch was in effect for New York, and experts said power outages could be possible from Virginia to Maine.
So instead of flying into the mess, the Celtics are seeking better weather before the worst of the storm hits.
They'll fly to Miami on Sunday evening, then practice at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday — the last workout before their meeting with the champion Heat on Tuesday night, in a rematch of last season's epic Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics' original travel plan called for a Monday arrival in Miami.
The first game of the NBA regular season might also be affected. Washington and Cleveland tip the season off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday — about an hour before Boston-Miami will get going — and the Wizards also were keeping a close eye on the storm's path. As of Saturday afternoon, the Wizards had no plans to alter their travel schedule.
USA Luge also decided to postpone a planned fundraiser in New York, which was scheduled for Monday night. Federation officials, who were planning to travel from their base in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the event, said they were heeding "the recommendations of state and emergency officials" and will push the fundraiser back until sometime in mid-December.
"Hurricane Sandy has dictated that we stay home," USA Luge spokesman Sandy Caligiore said.
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