Trail Blazers

How the NBA bubble changed the future of fan experiences in arenas

Trail Blazers

When the idea of the NBA ‘Bubble’ was first introduced, it was met with some confusion and almost considered a laughing matter.

Now, after a highly successful three-month experience in Orlando, Florida that resulted in few to zero positive cases of the coronavirus, we see several professional leagues and even in the college level creating their own bubble-like atmospheres.

Coaches and players across the NBA praised the league for creating such a safe environment for all those involved with getting the NBA back. But the bubble may have open some eyes for when the sports world returns to normalcy. 

And while there really isn’t anything like physically being at a game and cheering on your team, the bubble provided a unique virtual experience for fans. 

Could we continue to see that virtual ticket and experience as an option for fans in the future?

President and CEO of the Portland Trail Blazers Chris McGowan joins the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and shares his opinion on the matter:

“There’s going to be guidance from the league in terms of what you can do with music, with video boards, performance teams. You’re actually going to be able to utilize a lot of that, probably not as close to the court as a normal time. So, once we get that guidance, we’ll build our plan around it. The thing we got to do is keep our fans connected with that even if they can’t come to the game. 


That’s the big challenge: how do you get people connected with the games when they can’t buy a ticket and come sit in the seats?

President/CEO of the Portland Trail Blazers Chris McGowan

Screaming fans in the fourth quarter of a close game can make a difference in the outcome of a game. But McGowan brings up an interesting point: keeping fans engaged in the game but were unable to purchase a ticket. 

Imagine all the Portland Trail Blazers fans around the world enjoying the game virtually combined with the Rip City faithful in the Moda Center…

With a rumored NBA start date for the 2020-2021 season around Christmas Day paired with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it may be some time before we see the fans back in the stands, but the virtual fan experience the NBA bubble provided was quite a success given the circumstances.

Listen to the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here.