Though plans are still coming together for Walt Disney World's reopening (plans are supposedly going to be submitted to Orange County next week), it looks like plans for the resort to host a different kind of guest are coming together for the near future, which should be of some excitement for sports fans!
NBA confirmed to be having talks with Walt Disney World for continuation of 2020 season
Back in mid-April sports commentator Keith Smith suggested that Walt Disney World could be the perfect place for the NBA to finish out its current season, which (like everything else) has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now it has been confirmed that the NBA and Walt Disney World are discussing how games could be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility, while players, coaches, and a small amount of essential staff use the nearby resorts as lodging.
Mike Bass, NBA Executive Vice President, Communications released a statement saying that all players, staff, etc. will have to stay on Walt Disney World property at all times so they could form a contained bubble within private Disney property, and all games and practices will use the existing ESPN Wide World of Sports facilities.
Disney has also said that they are looking to form a partnership with the NBA to bring the 2020 season to a close, which is an encouraging sign that could indicate that a deal between the two entities is very close to coming to fruition.
How could this affect Walt Disney World's reopening?
Although internal sources seemed to indicate that Disney was preparing to stay shuttered through the summer, the surprise announcement that Universal Orlando Resort was reopening on June 1 with minimal restrictions has many wondering if Walt Disney World will follow their neighbor and reopen sooner than expected. And while we're not sure what conversations are going on behind the scenes in regard to the reopening, if the Walt Disney World resort is hosting the rest of the NBA season (which could go on two months or more), they will need to factor that in to their reopening plans, as Disney would have to “block out” a few of its hotels specifically for NBA players and staff, which would of course affect capacity, and also make sure these areas stay off limits to guests to keep everyone involved with the project in their own bubble.