REPORT: Walt Disney World floated as possible ‘safe’ location should season resume
The NBA is considering all venues in the event public officials give the green light to resume the 2019-20 season, including a certain magical kingdom.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA has discussed playing games at the Walt Disney World Resort property in Orlando, Florida.
One possible playing ground for NBA if finishing season becomes safe for league and players: Walt Disney World Resort property in Orlando, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. League has kept different scenarios in mind.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 29, 2020
This might not come as much of a surprise to fans who have been keeping tabs on NBA news.
Mark Medina of USA TODAY previously reported that Disney’s executive chairman, Bob Iger, joined a conference call with league owners earlier this April:
Bob Iger, the executive chairman of Disney, spoke to the league’s owners about how the company has dealt with its theme parks, theaters and ESPN since the COVID-19 outbreak. When various NBA owners asked Iger about timelines, Silver said that Iger stressed one thing. “It’s about the data, and not the date.”
Keith Smith also wrote a piece for Yahoo! Sports in which he assessed the feasibility of the NBA moving all operations and contests to Disney World.
Smith detailed how the hotel structure would provide safe accommodations for players and coaches. He also noted how the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex would provide ample basketball amenities, from physical courts to broadcast setups.
Of course, moving league operations to Disney World would make for some potentially intriguing bartering between ESPN (which is part of the Disney umbrella) and TNT for broadcasting rights.
This is not the only playing ground that has been discussed if teams cannot safely play in their own arenas. The NBA might also turn to Las Vegas — where they host the Summer League and own properties — if push comes to shove.
But Disney World is absolutely on the table as league officials juggle best laid plans.