The NBA’s return-to-play bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando will cost the league more than $150 million, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports.
Citing multiple sources, Windhorst says the costs come from renting out three hotels for 22 teams, operating three courts for games and seven practice courts, meals, daily COVID-19 testing, transportation, security and entertainment.
The NBA expects to have 1,500 people inside the initial bubble, with that number shrinking as teams are eliminated from the post-season.
Commissioner Adam Silver was asked by Time Magazine on Monday about whether the cost to finish the season was worth it. He said finding a safe way to run the event was top priority, regardless of the cost.
“It comes into play that we feel an obligation to our sport and to the industry to find a new normal,” Silver said. “It doesn’t come into play in terms of dollars and cents because, frankly, it’s not all that economical for us to play on this campus. It’s enormously expensive.”
Windhorst reports the NBA will lose approximately $1 billion in revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the season on March 11. However, the players will retain approximately $600 million in salaries by returning to play and the league will be able to recoup some lost television revenue.
NBA players reported to their home cities (with the exception of the Toronto Raptors) for mandatory COVID-19 testing on June 23. The teams will all travel to Orlando between July 7 and 9 and after a quarantine period will begin training camps. The regular season — which will see each of the returning teams play eight more games for playoff seeding — will begin July 30.