The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in Central Florida in late July, the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Basketball Players Association is also part of the talks with Disney, the league said Saturday. Games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the conversations were still “exploratory,” and that the Disney site would be used for practices and housing as well.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners, is primarily owned by Disney.
Space won’t be an issue, even if Major League Soccer — which is also in talks to resume its season at Disney — is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.
Nationals change ring ceremony
The Washington Nationals changed their plans for their virtual World Series ring ceremony after players decided they would rather wait until they could reunite in person to receive their new jewelry.
The Nationals had announced they were going to give out the rings during a show broadcast on television and online — an unprecedented approach brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. They still plan to unveil the design of the ring Sunday and go ahead with a fundraiser for two food banks and the showing of a documentary about Washington’s 2019 season.
The Nationals consulted some team leaders before moving forward with the virtual ring ceremony.
Relief for Canada’s NHL season ticket holders
Canada’s NHL teams have offered season-ticket holders rebate or refund options in acknowledgment that no more 2019-20 regular-season games will be played in front of fans in their respective buildings.
In a four-day span May 13-16, all seven teams contacted their season-ticket bases with options and, in some cases, deadlines to make a decision, according to The Canadian Press.
Czech soccer league to restart
The Czech soccer league restarted under strict conditions. Teplice beat visiting Liberec, 2-0, without spectators as the First League resumed after a 73-day stoppage. The teams entered the stadium separately and players were not allowed to shake hands or celebrate goals together. The restart was made possible after the government eased restrictions that contained the coronavirus outbreak … The soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume from June 8, said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. While the top tier, La Liga, can play from this date, it has already said it wants to resume play on June 12. It is unclear when the first games will be held. There has been no play in the top tier due to the coronavirus crisis since March 12. Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually.