Latest on Disney World Hosting NBA Regular Season, Playoffs

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Thursday it has approved a 22-team format to restart the season this summer at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The NBA’s Board of Governors has voted to approve the league’s 22-team format to restart the 2019-2020 season in Orlando, source tells ESPN.

The NBA’s training camp period would begin June 30 and teams approved to restart play would be flown to Florida on July 7. Each team would play eight regular-season games commencing on July 31 and continue through the playoffs to the finals, which could end as late as October 12.

The NBA will host games at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports, a 220-acre facility comprised of three arenas that can be configured to house 20 basketball courts, allowing the league to play two games at once and maintain a separate practice facility.

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From a television perspective, ESPN has a 2,500-square-foot production center with eight edit bays on the property that will be used to broadcast the games to the public and cover the action on site.

With Disney owning 18 hotels on or near the Disney World complex that have been vacant since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, the NBA can create a health and safety bubble by having players, coaches and staff temporarily live on the property.

According to Theme Park Insider, the NBA players and other employees would be housed at the Coronado Springs, “with players only allowed outside of the league’s bubble to play golf or eat at outdoor restaurants.”

For Disney World, theme park officials know that despite the plans to open back up in July, attendance and revenue will dip drastically. Working out a deal with the NBA to host the remainder of their season would alleviate some of the financial burden caused by travel restrictions.

*This is a developing story. More details will be added as they’re announced.

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