Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA as a whole have received endless praise for the continued success of the Walt Disney World bubble plan.
It has now been operational for over one month and has yet to receive a positive test for the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the NBA, NHL and MLS enjoying safety — and the MLB continuing to have problems — it seems that bubbles have become the standard for sports league.
However, the arrangement is far from practical considering the isolation required, and the closed-off setting is definitely unsustainable the longer they go on. This is what the league is looking into for the 2020-21 season. Silver has already said he’s unsure if there will be fans or not, but a full 82-game season in a bubble would be impossible to achieve.
Silver has recently changed his tune on fans, saying that the league is looking into pushing back the tentative Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season in order to increase the likelihood of having attendance, via Rachel Nichols of ESPN:
“Dec. 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me. Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. My sense is in working with the Players Association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in our arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”
This push back would reportedly be accompanied by the postponement of both the NBA Draft and the beginning of free agency. Those two events were scheduled for the week following Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
While moving back the season does not guarantee fans will be able to attend from the beginning, it does significantly improve the chances they will get more games rather than less.
The release of a COVID-19 vaccine is something that Silver believes will be the turning point for being able to have fans. Currently, vaccines are predicted to be available for the general public sometime in January, meaning a pushed back start date could mean only a couple weeks with no fans.
Several plans being considered for 2020-21 season
In addition to the December start date, the league reportedly considering several out of the box plans for the 2020-21 season.
One of these ideas include a March-October season that would take a three-week break in August for the Olympics.
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