As sports leagues throw around possible ways to return to action amid the coronavirus, the NBA is reportedly considering an outside-the-box option.
Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, has been mentioned as a possible site for the NBA to play out its season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
One possible playing ground for NBA if finishing season becomes safe for league and players: Walt Disney World Resort property in Orlando, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. League has kept different scenarios in mind.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 29, 2020
The idea of a bubble league in which players play games in empty stadiums and stay isolated at hotels when not playing has been floated around across leagues for months, with varying reception. It seems to be the best way leagues can hold games and still receive television revenue while minimizing risk, but it asks a lot for players and other employees to isolate for months — possibly from their families — just to hold games.
There’s also the uncomfortable possibility that a player could still contract the virus and infect a large chunk of the league.
Still, if the league wants to do it, it’s hard to think of a place that has more benefits than Disney World.
The case for the NBA playing out its season in Disney World
As former Disney employee Keith Smith laid out for Yahoo Sports earlier this month, the amenities and other circumstances boasted by Disney World make it uniquely qualified to host professional basketball games while keeping the league isolated from the risk of the coronavirus.
The whole post is worth reading, but it essentially boils down to Disney World having the following:
• 12 on-site basketball courts, two of which are broadcast-ready, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
• enough hotel rooms to house every player, coach, official, television crew member and more
• several nearby medical facilities for injuries
• restaurants, swimming pools and other amenities to stave off boredom
• private property that can be easily blocked off from the public
• a location in Florida, which has been aggressive in trying to host sporting events amid the pandemic
• a parent company in Disney that already has ties to the NBA through ESPN
It’s hard to think of another place in the country that can boast all of that. And now, it appears the NBA might be receptive to that pitch.
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