UNITED STATES—After much speculation the NBA finally officially confirmed rumors that they are considering finishing out the 2019-2020 regular season in Orlando, Florida. Many team facilities have already opened or are beginning to open, thus making the return of the season more and more likely.
If the NBA enacts its Orlando plan, players, fans, and sports bettors will welcome the news. Players and fans are itching to play again, especially after ESPN released their documentary on Michael Jordan – The Last Dance. Sports bettors are also eager for play to resume, particularly sports bettors in legal states like Pennsylvania which offers online sports books and casinos according to GamblingOnline.com.
Why the Orlando Plan Makes Sense
There are several reasons why the plan to play out the rest of the NBA season in Orlando, FL makes sense. First and foremost, it’s in a state that already possesses experience hosting live UFC events post-coronavirus.
Secondly, the NBA would be able to utilize private facilities owned by their media partner, Disney. Not only would this make broadcasting, travel, and game scheduling easier it would make the testing and oversight process easier as well since the facilities are privately owned.
If the league decides to practice and play games elsewhere there is no shortage of options in Orlando as the Amway Center (home to the Orlando Magic) and UCF’s gym can be used if needed.
While the NBA hasn’t confirmed anything in regards to scheduling or attendance it’s safe to assume the broadcast schedule and in-game atmospheres both will be different.
It’s likely the league would move up the start time of their games from their standard 7pm ET window to around 6pm ET. The 7pm ET (or local time) time slot is largely in place to allow for fans to leave work and get home to watch the games or physically attend the games. Since fans will likely not be in attendance there’s a growing expectation that the scheduling will look different.
Additionally, with no fans in attendance expect the atmosphere to be different. Viewers at home may be able to hear players communicating on the floor, talking trash, and hear coaches screaming instructions. While players will likely miss the adrenaline that comes with a full arena cheering you on.
Are Their Downsides of the Orlando Plan?
Are there any negatives to the NBA’s Orlando, FL plan? The short answer is, nobody truly knows. However, housing all 30 NBA teams in one city will mirror that of the Olympics. In other words, it allows players to have access to each other and congregate, which may affect their focus, future free agency decisions, and more. Many of the players across the league are already close with one another, however, the time spent together is vastly limited during a regular NBA season due to the rigorous NBA travel schedule.
Furthermore, the Orlando plan may affect the quality of play. More so from a timing perspective. It’s likely that teams will come back a bit rusty and being asked to adjust to a new routine may prove to be challenging for some at first. Nevertheless, many think when push comes to shove the quality of play will return before the league enters into its playoff format, which is also yet to be determined.