The NBA officially has a plan to restart the 2019-20 regular season! And it includes Walt Disney World!
After numerous reports came out detailing proposals for when and where the NBA might resume, the league announced Saturday morning that they are in talks with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the season at their expansive property outside of Orlando.
“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” said NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass via release. “Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medial protocols and protections are in place.”
The NBA’s announcement tracks with what has been reported over the last few weeks, though it was made clear that the NBA plans to use one site, not multiple as speculated.
The NBA has a close relationship with The Walt Disney Company – the parent company of ABC/ESPN. Which is the league’s most important media partner. Disney’s Executive Chairman, Bob Iger, has worked closely with commissioner Adam Silver during the COVID-19 pandemic and the size and infrastructure of Disney World Orland, home of the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, makes it an ideal site to house all 30 teams in a somewhat controlled environment.
While the league has found the “where” for the season restart, the “how” is still very much up for debate- According to Sham Charania at The Athletic, the league sent out a survey to general managers detailing a number of options regarding resumption of play, from all 30 teams playing a certain number of games before playoffs to jumping straight into a tournament format that would not include teams at the bottom of their respective conferences.
But while front offices will likely lobby for the proposals that make the most sense for their respective teams, the ultimate decision on what is best for the league as a whole falls to commissioner Silver, though that is also dictated by advice from public health professionals.
Granted, there are still many details that need to be decided upon, But after over two months of uncertainty regarding the resumption of the NBA season, we’re finally starting to get some answers.