Orlando's Disney World is reportedly one of the frontrunners as a venue to resume the suspended NBA 2019-20 season. Owing to Disney World's location and amenities, it is being seen as a favoured choice along with Las Vegas. NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The league has been considering various options to resume the season amid the pandemic, which includes conducting games in a 'bubble city'.
The NBA has Orlando/Disney World as a clear frontrunner for return-to-play site for resuming 2019-20 season, sources tell me and @sam_amick. Orlando has gained significant seriousness among other cites such as Las Vegas.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 20, 2020
Sources from Walt Disney World tell me: "We are confident we'll be hosting the NBA in some fashion. It may not be the entire league, but we believe the NBA will be here to at least finish part of their season. Still hurdles to cross, but we are preparing as if that is the case."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 20, 2020
A few Walt Disney World facts for those who are unfamiliar:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 20, 2020
-39 sq. miles (twice the size of Manhattan and roughly the size of San Francisco)
-34 on-property resorts (28 owned/operated by Disney)
-EWWS is 220 acres. 3 indoor venues and multiple acres of field space.
It's a city.
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.
Players will reportedly start training in mid-June, and gear up for the season by mid-July. However, the league is yet to release an official statement. Last week, Adam Silver stated that he will most likely make a decision about the season in two weeks. Disney World has emerged as the most probable venue to host the season while the NBA awaits an official decision. According to The Athletic, while Disney World is a frontrunner, the league still has to sort testing and accommodations.
Silver is hoping for daily testing, and no stoppage of play if a player tests positive. Florida's governor Ron DeSantis also welcomed professional sports who wanted to restart their games. He stated that Florida will find a place for the team to operate if their city is restricting them. Disney will reportedly open the restaurant and entertainment area later this month while the theme park and hotels will remain closed. The theme park was closed in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.