Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

It’s going to be strange watching NBA games on television in Orlando with no fans in the stands, there's no doubt about that. It’s something the players, team personnel, fans, and media are all going to have to get used to.

There have even been rumors that television crews might possibly experiment with virtual fans.

Can you imagine that?

Okay, maybe we won't see virtual fans, but we will probably have to imagine NBA arenas across the country next season being empty as well.

The National Basketball Players’ Association expects no fans in attendance at games for the 2020-21 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The no fans in the stands for next season was a topic discussed in Friday night’s conference call where roughly 80 NBA players discussed the possible restart in Orlando as many players have been voicing their opinions on whether or not the 2019-20 season should resume next month. The main topic of the call was to discuss how returning to the court could impact the Black Lives Matter and social justice movements around the country.

No fans in attendance for the entirety of next season is obviously not just a hard concept to come to terms with, but would also cut into revenue. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently admitted that 40 percent of the league's revenue comes from ticket sales. NBA owners and the players union have already been discussing how to handle the salary cap in the future with the drop in league revenue and no fans next season would only add to this conversation.

 

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.]

But, with everyone’s safety in mind, not having large gatherings in NBA arenas next season isn’t a surprising idea. Coronavirus cases are still being confirmed at a fairly steady rate in the United States. Plus, last month it had been reported that having no fans in attendance for games next season has already been brought up by Commissioner Silver.

The start of the 2020-21 season is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1, which certainly means things could drastically change by then. A vaccine for COVID-19 could be distributed by that time; but for now, the most likely scenario is NBA fans will have to wait to see their favorite teams live and in person until the 2021-22 season.