National Basketball Association (NBA), on Saturday announced that the league is in talks with Walt Disney to restart its suspended season in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando. The league stated that the talks are, as of now, 'exploratory' in nature.
The following is a statement from NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass: pic.twitter.com/8gfK5iVXs8— NBA (@NBA) May 23, 2020
A statement posted on NBA's twitter account by Mike Bass, Chief of Communications read, "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. 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 medical protocols and protections are in place."
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.
The entire complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.
Disney World is one of the few places that could accommodate the league as they have all the required resources. Disney's Wide World of Sports venue will offer the league various advantages like multiple courts and hotels. They will also have close proximity to Orlando Magic facilities and an 'immediate readiness' for broadcasting the games. They have 34 on-property resorts, along with three indoor venues and acres of field space. Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith also reported that Disney is a possible option as Disney Chairman Bob Iger shares a good relationship with both NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA President Chris Paul. As the NBA wants to play in a 'bubble city', Disney World is being seen as the perfect option as it is a private property that gives the league more control.