Report: NBA to decide between games without fans in attendance, hiatus
A resolution could come tomorrow.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Reporting with @ZachLowe_NBA: Consensus among owners on Board of Governors call with league office was either continue season with no fans in arenas -- or have NBA take a hiatus for a period time. NBA is expected to have a decision as soon as Thursday on next steps.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 11, 2020
One way or another, fans aren’t getting into NBA games any time soon. The question is whether the games will occur at all.
Continuing to play is riskier health-wise than a hiatus. Teams travelling exposes everyone involved. Putting games on television requires a significant number of people in the arena, though their proximity to players can be limited.
Continuing to play – with arenas already booked – might also be more financially beneficial to the league. Of course, that’s a major consideration.
The major concern with continuing to play: What if someone close to a team – player, coach, trainer – gets coronavirus? The entire team would have to quarantine. Its recent opponents would seemingly have to quarantine. That’d quickly undermine the entire operation.
A hiatus would bring its own complications, namely when and where to play games when the season resumes. Arenas are booked with other events.
The NBA is going to take a financial hit, regardless. Continuing to play – even without fans in attendance – could minimize the short-term economic damage.
But if it backfires with a player getting coronavirus, that could prompt a hiatus anyway AND expose the league to negative publicity. At least one player would also be sick, which ought to count for something.
This is not an easy call. I don’t envy the people who must decide.