NBA in talks with Disney to restart season in July with all games played on Florida site owned by the media company – The Sun

THE NBA is "in talks" with Disney over resuming the season in Florida in July, and hosting games at a Disney property near Orlando.

The games, as well as practices and housing for the players, would take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a facility on the huge complex, which is around 40 square miles big.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11, after it was revealed that All-Star center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.

It was one of the first US major pro leagues to do so, but has been working on countless return-to-play scenarios for several weeks, all with the caveat that testing would be an integral part of any resumption of the season, the Associated Press reported.

NBA spokesman described the talks with The Walt Disney Company as “exploratory".

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” Bass said.

The ESPN complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has hosted he Jr NBA World Championship in recent years.

ESPN, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners, is primarily owned by Disney.

Major League Soccer is also in talks to resume its season at the same Disney property.

The entire complex has nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.

It remains unknown where the NBA is in the process of securing tests or developing large-scale testing protocols.

It is also not known how many regular-season games would be played before the postseason begins, or if all 30 teams would be playing.

“Places are opening up. Let’s not forget COVID isn’t magically less contagious now,” Malcolm Miller of the Toronto Raptors tweeted Saturday.

“The virus itself didn’t get better… stay safe.”

Teams have been allowed to welcome players back to their training facilities for voluntary sessions since May 8, and more than half of the league’s franchises have taken advantage of that opportunity.

The league has asked team general managers for additional input on those matters, AP reported.

On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Jared Dudley of the Los Angeles Lakers said he believes the playoffs, whenever they start, will be the traditional best-of-seven format.


“That’s the money-winner when it comes to Disney,” Dudley said. “That’s why we’ll be in Orlando. Disney owns ESPN. That’s where they make their money. During the playoffs and finals, it will all be seven games. That one I’m almost 100% sure of.”

Central Florida has been known as a viable option to host an NBA restart since at least mid-April, and other cities — such as Las Vegas, which also has a longstanding relationship with the NBA — were known to be considered as well.

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