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NBA reportedly eyes Disney World to host games if season returns

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has the on-site housing and playing facilities the league would need.
 
In this March 24, 2020, file photo, a look down Western Way at Walt Disney World. The NBA is looking at using the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World as a possible venue to complete the league's season if it resumes.
In this March 24, 2020, file photo, a look down Western Way at Walt Disney World. The NBA is looking at using the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World as a possible venue to complete the league's season if it resumes. [ JOE BURBANK | TNS ]
Published April 30, 2020|Updated May 1, 2020

Could the NBA resume play in Orlando?

The NBA is looking at using the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World as a possible venue to complete the season if conditions permit during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

The league suspended its season March 11.

Charania, who first reported the news late Wednesday, also wrote in the tweet that the NBA “has kept different scenarios in mind.”

The Wide World of Sports Complex would make sense for a lot of reasons.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported via Twitter that Disney chairman Bob Iger was on a videoconference with the NBA’s board of governors on Wednesday. In the same tweet, Reynolds wrote that some state lawmakers have been touting the idea of utilizing Disney as the site to resume the NBA season for some time.

Earlier this month, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports laid out how the NBA could utilize Disney’s sports complex to carry out the rest of the season. Smith, who worked at Disney for 20 years, cited the on-site housing and facility capabilities as two key reasons an arrangement would work. Multiple games could be played at once, with more courts available for practices.

The complex already has a court, the HP Field House, where high-level basketball games are played. The Jr. NBA Global Championship has been played at the venue and it’s the site of the annual AdvoCare Invitational college basketball tournament in November.

In addition to the HP Field House, more courts can be utilized at the Visa Center.

Smith wrote that Disney’s acres of private property give it the ability to create a “bubble” and isolate teams. The sports complex itself sits on 255 acres, according to its website. That kind of space is a major benefit amid the pandemic.

Plus, the HP Field House, the Visa Center and other parts of the complex already are set up for broadcasting.

It’s important to note that the league has made no decision about resuming its season. Commissioner Adam Silver continues to stress the league’s top priority is maintaining the health and safety of everyone connected to the NBA.

Extensive coronavirus tests also would likely be required to resume play, and Silver pledged the league would not commit to using those tests before they were widely available to the general public.

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