Disney World — the magical place where dreams come true. Every year, millions flock to Orlando, Florida, to walk down Main Street, USA and meet their favorite princesses. Every kid dreams of going to Disney World and getting those magical Mickey Mouse ears.
What most do not know, however, is that Disney owns ESPN and their 220-acre Wide World of Sports complex. Baseball and softball fields, rinks, tracks, stadiums and arenas line the complex.
Major professional sports in the US have been halted for the well-being of players, coaches, and fans. Now that the coronavirus situation in the country is improving, sports are close to being back. The UFC has returned to action as have numerous leagues overseas. With that, professional sports in the United States are making plans to return to play.
The NBA has an agreement with Disney World to utilize the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Here’s what we know.
According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the current plan is to bring 22 teams to Orlando — 13 from the Western Conference and nine Eastern Conference. Each team will play 8 more regular-season games. The 22 teams will include the top eight teams from each conference (those who currently hold playoff positions) and every team that sits within six games of the playoffs.
A play-in tournament will be necessary if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed. The tournament would be double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth seed.
Sources tell ESPN that players will be tested for the coronavirus each day. If a player tests positive, only that player will be isolated from the rest of the team. Testing will continue on the rest of the team as normal. Life in Orlando will follow strict guidelines for players. Social distancing must be maintained and activities permitted will be limited. It is expected that the league will have a hotel with floors designed for each time.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, they would play the Pacers, Wizards, Raptors, Suns, Blazers, Rockets, Wizards and Magic. It is important to note that these are not the next eight games on the schedule. The Sixers would skip games against teams not in Orlando. This, of course, is assuming current rumors are accurate.
There is a call scheduled for Thursday at 12:30 p.m. EST to vote on this proposal. Basketball might be back in just a couple of weeks.