The NBA set protocols for teams to have fans in arenas next season. The Lakers said no fans would be allowed until further notice. Expect other teams to follow suit or allow only small numbers. It’s difficult to safely host people indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But, as usual, the Warriors are being more ambitious.
The Golden State Warriors have presented an ambitious plan to state and local officials to reopen Chase Center in San Francisco at 50% capacity for the upcoming NBA season, which owner Joe Lacob believes can be the model for all sports franchises and entertainment venues to safely bring back fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacob said the Warriors are prepared to spend upward of $30 million to test every fan, Warriors employee and player with the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing for each home game or day they come to Chase Center.
It hinges on the use of rapid PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests or equivalent amplification technologies that can detect traces of the virus’ genetic material in nasal or throat swabs within 15 minutes and are far more accurate than rapid antigen tests, which look for a protein that is present on the surface of the virus that is shed.
I hope this works. Any testing advances that allow people to live more freely should be applauded.
Questions remain about Golden State’s plan, including: How will people gather before being tested? What happens when people test positive? Where will they go?
Rapid PCR tests are expensive. But the Warriors’ new arena is so lucrative, it’s worth paying for these tests. The costs can always be baked into ticket prices, too.
So, this might not make financial sense in every market.
But if does in San Francisco, more power to Golden State.