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Negotiations underway for 2019-2020 NBA season relaunch at Disney World

The NBA season relaunch could be held at Disney World, as league officials, the players association and Disney are negotiating a plan for all 30 teams to gather at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to resume the 2019-2020 NBA season.

Talk about resuming the season had focused on Las Vegas and Disney World as potential sites to resume the 2019-2020 NBA season. Initially there was talk of Vegas hosting the games, followed by talk of Vegas and Disney World splitting the games by conference. But now NBA officials say they’re looking at Disney World as the sole site.

Now closed as part of the wider closure of Disney World, the 255-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports complex features several venues that can host basketball games closed to fans: HP Field House, the Visa Athletic Center and The Arena. Players, officials and team officials could stay at a nearby closed resort. The plus to hosting at ESPN Wide World of Sports: everything is already set up, between playing spaces, locker rooms, hotel rooms and broadcast facilities. Disney runs an internal WWoS broadcast network and is set up with camera, studio and editing stations. There are 30,000 or so rooms on the Disney World campus, including many operated by third-party vendors like the Four Seasons and Hilton, although Disney has been looking at an unofficial July 1 date to open resorts and the theme parks, it’s highly unlikely the resorts will be operating at 100 percent capacity. Even if MLS does move forward with a plan to relaunch its season at Disney World, there should be capacity for all. The angle for Disney in all this? Valuable programming for ESPN and ABC.

A big issue is timing. NBA players have been allowed back to team training complex for small, voluntary workouts. It will take time for players to get back into game shape, which means we’re probably looking at some sort of June training period followed by the resumption of play in six to eight weeks.

Photo courtesy Disney.

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