After months of suspension due to COVID-19, the 2019-20 NBA season resumed in isolation at the Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. Now, it has been reported that the league has saved an estimated $1.5 billion with the decision.
The novel Coronavirus pandemic was a massive blow to all sports leagues and tournaments across the globe, and the NBA was no exception. The premier basketball league was called off on 11th March and was on a halt for more than four months until its resumption from 30th July onwards.
The rest of the season was played behind closed doors at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, located within Disney World while the players stayed at Disney World hotels, which was collectively termed the ‘Disney Bubble’ or ‘Orlando Bubble’.
NBA’s Disney Bubble investment returned fruitfully
An estimated $180 million investment was made by the NBA for the completion of the season, meaning it cost $1.8 million each day at the Disney Bubble, including private rooms, amusement activities, flooding and round the clock medical monitoring for players of all 22 participating teams.
However, the decision to invest in the Disney Bubble has reportedly saved the league from losing around $1.5 billion, according to John Lombardo of Sports Business Daily.
“The bubble really stopped the bleeding of these haemorrhaging loses of $1.5 billion at least,” Lombardo said on the SBJ daily podcast, “they preserved at least, sources are saying, more than a billion up to $1.5 billion.”
The teams had suffered a loss of $1.9 million per home game not being played for the absence of ticket sales that brings in almost 40 per cent of team revenue, which is expected to impact the 2020-21 season’s salary cap.
However, by investing the $180 million sum for the Disney Bubble, the league saved themselves from a gargantuan financial loss. The resumption of the season also fulfilled NBA’s TV contracts, as well as sponsorship contracts which include virtual fan clubs and signage around the courts.
The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to commence from 18th January.