It’s official! After months of speculation, the NBA officially announced they plan to restart the season in July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. See the official press release from the NBA below:
“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 has a close relationship with The Walt Disney Company — they’re the parent company of ABC/ESPN, the league’s most important media partner, and their 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 controllable environment.
While the NBA seems to be solidifying when and where issues regarding restarting the season, which has been postponed since March 11 due to the COVID-10 pandemic, how the league will resume still seems to be 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 the 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 (the idea being that going through a month of training camp only to play a very limited number of games might not make sense for teams that had already started to look to next season).