We’re clearly just getting started in the response to the coronavirus.
It seems inevitable the NBA will take wider measures.
In a meeting with the National Basketball Players Association on the coronavirus crisis Wednesday, the NBA and union discussed ways to continue the season without the cancellation or loss of games — while conceding the sport was trending toward a period of time without fans in attendance at arenas, sources told ESPN.
The NBA is exploring solutions to allow them to continue playing and televising games during the coronavirus crisis, even with it increasingly likely that the league will do so in empty arenas, sources said. The NBA is bracing for the losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the sport, sources said.
The NBA has been asking teams to provide its arena schedule through July, which is as clear a sign as any that the notion of putting everything on hold for a while so the authorities can attempt to contain the virus remains in play.
This is an unprecedented situation. Many options are on the table.
A few things to consider:
1. The NBA is a business that exists to make money. There’s no point of playing games that don’t produce revenue, thoughboth short-term and long-term revenue must be considered. Money-losing games now could help the league maintain its status as a reliable – profitable – form of entertainment.
2. A significant number of people are required to put a game on television as we know it. The NBA has already restricted media from locker rooms. Is there a point where allowing TV-crew personnel into the arena isn’t worth the health risks?
3. Delaying the schedule would be complicated. It might be the lesser of evils during this outbreak. If a single person close to an NBA team tests positive for the coronavirus, that could cause a ripple of quarantines that destabilize the league, anyway.
4. Player income is directly tied to revenue. These losses will be felt on both sides – when lost revenue in China is already affecting the bottom line.