As the NBA and NBPA continue to focus on starting up the 2020-21 season before Christmas, the league is reportedly hoping to have fans back in attendance right away.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is aiming “to have arena suites open to fans” at a capacity of 25 to 50 percent for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Charania noted there would be protocols including social distancing, COVID-19 testing and masks. One way or another, the NBA is hoping to have a number of fans in attendance.
According to a report Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, the expectation is that the players will agree on the structure for a 72-game regular season beginning on Dec. 22, with training camp taking place on Dec. 1.
The report from Wojnarowski and Lowe noted that the template of a 72-game season (beginning on Dec. 22) that concludes before next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo “is worth between $500 million and $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues to the league and players.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NBA to suspend the 2019-20 season on March 11. The regular season continued in the bubble city of Orlando, Florida on July 30, and it concluded on Aug. 14. The postseason began three days later.
There weren’t any fans in the arenas in the Orlando bubble, but the league had screens around the court with virtual fans to project a fan atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the NHL and MLB are working on plans and a format for their upcoming seasons. The NHL finished out the 2019-20 campaign in the hub cities of Edmonton, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario.
MLB teams played regular season games at their home venues without fans in attendance. Fans were welcome for the ALCS, NLCS and World Series.
The ALCS was played in San Diego and Los Angeles, California and the NLCS was played in Arlington and Houston, Texas. The entire World Series was played in Arlington.
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