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The NBA is constructing a social “bubble” in the Orlando area to protect its teams (and the 2019-20 season) from Covid-19.
- The bubble is the proposed enclosed environment in which the participants live, practice and play all games.
The bubble is located at the Walt Disney World Resort. Few other places could offer the 22 teams and NBA staff as many playing facilities, rooms and amenities with so little exposure to the public. The resort’s 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has more than a dozen practice courts and enough game-quality courts to play and broadcast three games at once.
The seeding games begin on July 30 and will determine the final standings and who makes the playoffs. The teams won’t have a home-court advantage, nor will they have fans in the stands…but they will stay in deluxe hotels, which is almost as good. I mean, who needs fans when you have towel swans and pillow mints?
In the two weeks before the players traveled to Orlando, the NBA required that they be tested for the coronavirus. As they arrived in a staggered three-day period from July 7 to 9, each player was to quarantine in his room for 48 hours and complete two negative COVID-19 tests. After the initial tests, players and staff “undergo regular coronavirus testing as determined by the NBA in consultation with its medical experts.”
Why play at all? It’s simple – Money.
The players were facing $645 million in lost salary if the regular-season games didn’t resume. With the current restart format, all 22 teams competing will play 8 games before the postseason begins. These 88 games reduce the collective salary loss by $300 million.