The Association would love nothing more than to host fans at games throughout the 2020-21 NBA season, though the bubble environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando has worked swell.
However, we’re talking economics. The revenue downfall that has come with playing in a bubble has cost the NBA an extraordinary amount of cash. Unfortunately, the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States makes it hard to believe that fans will be in attendance for the 2020-21 NBA season. At the very least, to open the season.
“There is talk of as many as four bubbles next season, according to sources. Given the league’s current success housing 22 teams at the Wide World of Sports Complex, a return to Disney is a given, as is using Las Vegas, the runner-up to Orlando this year,” David Aldridge and John Hollinger of The Athletic reported Wednesday.
The other two bubbles would likely be New York and the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.
Orlando and Las Vegas being all but foregone conclusions as host cities makes sense. Things have gone great at Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, Vegas has the capacity to host a bubble and was a finalist this season.
Though, there’s a lot more angles to look at here.
The Association is looking at possibly moving back the start of the 2020-21 NBA season from December to some point in January (or even later). Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being bandied about as Opening Day, too.
The reasoning? It’s rather simple. The league could potentially roll the dice in hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available by January. As of right now, that’s the most-realistic estimate from experts around the world.
If the start of the 2020-21 NBA season were pushed back, it would also create another short offseason. In order for the Association to make this decision, it would likely have to have some sense of when a vaccine will ultimately be made available.
The worst-case scenario of four different cities hosting games next season isn’t all that bad. It would take some work. The schedule would have to change. But it’s proven to be a success in Orlando.
For now, it seems like everything is on the table right now.