There has been plenty of talk surrounding the proposal to finish the 2020 NBA season in Orlando, Florida. Many have scoffed at the idea, refusing to get passed the cartoon aspect of the locale. But while some may think it a crazy idea, the truth is it may actually be the NBA’s best bet. No other location can readily offer what Disney World can, and the league knows it. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports wrote an article back in April when no one was talking about this idea yet highlighting the offerings that the property could lend. As a former Disney employee, he would know a thing or two about the park, so I’ll put my trust in his approval. Let’s break down exactly what a ‘bubble’ in Orlando would offer.
The Infrastructure is Already In Place
Every year, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex hosts college basketball tournaments in its facilities, and is broadcast-ready to boot! As a part of the Disney World properties, the EWWS Complex is the perfect setting for a basketball hub. It has plenty of space to expand and create all of the necessary amenities for the NBA: locker rooms, practice courts, interview rooms, and more. The complex would also serve as ESPN headquarters for the duration of the season, easing the transition that would otherwise be quite difficult in other locations. If the NBA is to be efficient when it returns, they must aim to play multiple games at a time. This facility offers that ability and Adam Silver recognizes that.
The Player Experience Will Be Top Notch
One of the biggest concerns that players have had about resuming the season is leaving behind their families for an extended period of time. While nothing has been confirmed, the hotels and properties that Disney World has to offer would allow plenty of space for families to join. At this point in the year, most children are entering summer vacation, so it would be an easier pill to swallow to move the family to Florida for a month or two. Another added bonus would be that the bubble would not be limited to a hotel room and facility. The goal with Disney World would be to allow players the freedom to roam the property, all while still being isolated from the outside world.
Disney Knows Business
This is perhaps the biggest factor in the proposal. The business relationship that the NBA has with Disney through ESPN cannot be understated. They have a working connection and understand each other and their needs. The fact that Disney as a corporation has also been preparing for life after the pandemic will be valuable as the NBA looks for guidance in moving forward. Overall, this would be a very smart move for the NBA as they seek to put a product back on the floor.
While many questions and obstacles remain, the momentum is moving in the right direction. Both the players and owners want to finish the season, and Orlando is truly the best option for accomplishing that. The rest is now up to Adam Silver and company to find a deal that works in the best interest of all involved.