The NBA is moving ahead with plans to resume the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, despite the recent surge in positive cases of COVID-19.
On a call with media members Friday afternoon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted the plan isn't perfect, but it's the best strategy moving forward.
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Adam Silver underscores that no fans will be allowed at the NBA restart, but to provide a better remote experience, game broadcasts will include increased camera angles, personalized alternative screens, "enhanced audio" of players & coaches, and virtual concerts & halftimes.
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Silver, on concerns about spiking COVID numbers in Florida: "The answer is, yes, the levels of concern have increased, not just because of the increased levels in Florida, but throughout the country." But says Disney campus was designed to limit exposure to players/teams.
The league is expected to resume play on July 30, with teams traveling to Orlando beginning July 7.
According to the New York Times, Florida has recorded more than 3,200 positive cases over each of the last three days, including a record high of 5,511 cases on June 24 that was topped again on Friday with the state announcing 8,942 cases. Orlando, in particular, has remained a hot spot in the state with one out of every 168 people testing positive there.
The surge led to Florida suspending alcohol services in all bars effective Friday morning.
In the NBA alone, the league announced 16 of 302 players have contracted the virus, including three members of the Sacramento Kings, who are set to participate in the restart.
Silver said the league is still discussing what it would take to shut games down again should infections increase across the NBA.
"We're working closely on what that line should be," Silver said. "It hasn't been precisely designed."
The 58-year-old also noted players will not be forced to remain on the Disney campus but would be subject to quarantine should they attempt to return. Additionally, players will be tested for COVID-19 daily upon arriving in Orlando.
Teams will also be allowed to replace staff members who test positive and are unable to work, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
"My ultimate conclusion is we can't outrun the virus," Silver said. "And we are going to be living with this for the foreseeable future."
Within the bubble, the NBA is prepping to create a fan-friendly environment despite the fact no spectators will be allowed in. The league plans on using new camera angles, more audio of coaches and players as well has virtual halftime concerts and performances.