Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Money talks: plans brew for the centralized return of NBA and NHL, but not in New York

ESPN reports today on shifting attitudes from those running the universe of pro sports:  "To months in, the landscape has shifted, from fear of one positive test shutting down a season to the gradual acceptance of risk."
From the Athletic, 5/20/20, Sources: NBA in serious talks to restart season in Orlando, Disney World the frontrunner:
The NBA is in serious discussions with Disney about the property, which has gained clear momentum over cities such as Las Vegas, sources said. It remains unclear when the games would begin, but multiple sources say the prospect of players fully training in mid-June and playing by mid-July has been the most popular and possible scenario discussed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the Board of Governors on May 12 that he aims to decide on the season in two-to-four weeks, and that he wants to wait as long as he can to make final decisions.
...For the NBA, Orlando/Disney World’s controllability as a playing site — with a private property having the necessary complexes, hotels and amenities — has been the most appealing of all the possibilities all along.
As the article notes, there's also "synergy between the NBA and Disney — which owns the league’s main media partner." These, of course, would be staged for the cameras, not for an in-person audience.

But there are challenges, as ESPN reports:
And while many NBA practice facilities are open for individual workouts, not all of them are. So does every team return to its own market to practice, or can some in closed markets send players to Orlando or another "bubble"-like site to practice?

That includes Brooklyn.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reports today  that Las Vegas is still in the mix, and suggests that maybe the players aren't on board
How do NBA players really feel about coming back? Money talks, so players will do it and team owners/executives will go along without complaint, knowing that not playing could be disastrous for the league financially. [According to ESPN, $2 billion.] But the more league-types I talk to, the more I get the sense that in a blind vote the majority of the league would elect to scrub the season and pick up next year. Safety concerns are real, as is the fear among some executives about the risk of injury to star players dropped into a playoff situation after what could be close to four months off.

What about the NHL?

Meanwhile, as the Brooklyn Eagle reported 5/20/20, NHL reopening plan could send Isles elsewhere:
On Monday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated that the league is looking at “eight or nine places” that can accommodate “a dozen or so teams in one location” as it continues to ponder possible scenarios for resumption.
That requires hotel space and cross-border issues, given that teams are in Canada and 17 percent of players are even outside North America.

From ESPN today:
The NHL is projected to lose $1.2 billion if it can't resume the season or complete the playoffs, so the financial pressure is real. The league could recoup about half of that money if it completes the season -- and the NHL is getting strong encouragement from its U.S. TV partner, NBC, as broadcast windows in July and August are open because the Tokyo Olympics were postponed.

From ESPN 5/20/20:
The NHL likely will utilize only two "hub" cities for its restart from the coronavirus pandemic if the proposed playoff format is approved by the league and the NHLPA, an NHL source told ESPN. The NHL explored using four "hub" arena sites for the restart. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that eight or nine locations are under consideration.