NBA announces 2019/20 season restart to take place at ESPN's Wide World Sports Complex in Florida
Author: Elliot Simmons | Monday 29th June 2020
The NBA has announced that the 2019/20 season will restart on July 30th.
The competition will tip-off with the Utah Jazz taking on the New Orleans Pelicans and will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, situated in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Following strict health and safety protocol, franchises will enter into a closed campus on which training and playing will be able to resume to full effect.
Rival Los Angeles franchises the Lakers and the Clippers will also face-off later that same day.
A finalised return to play plan will see 22 of the 30 NBA franchises play eight seeding games, determining a 16-team play-off period, a traditional post-season format will then be played out to determine and eagerly anticipated champion, promised no later than October 13th.
The US has experienced a second spike of coronavirus cases in the state of Florida and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has warned that the league's "bubble" cannot be completely risk-free.
NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy has expressed his concerns for the mental health and stability of players and coaching staff during the restart:
"We know that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and we are left with no choice but to learn to live with this virus. No options are risk-free right now”.
"My ultimate conclusion is that we can't outrun the virus and that this is what we're going to be living with for the foreseeable future - which is why we designed the campus the way we did. It's a closed network; and while it's not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us. At least, that's the model. So, for those reasons, we're still very comfortable being in Orlando”.
22 teams will be participating in the season restart and will play eight seeding games
What can we expect?
- During the season restart, there will be a maximum of seven seeding games per day across three venues at the ESPN Sports Complex.
- Teams will be assigned in four seeded games as the home side and four as the visitors.
- The tip-off time for each team’s last seeding game is scheduled to be played in Aug. These matches will be determined at a later date to provide the most compelling matchups which captivate a national and worldwide audience.
- The NBA and it’s broadcast and technology partners, which include Sky Sports, are collaborating to enhance game telecasts and bring fans an immersive, interactive viewing experience.
The 88 seeding games, which were selected from the remaining 259 regular-season matchups, will count toward the final 2019-20 regular-season standings and regular-season statistics.
The selection process which determined the matchups for the seeding games were chosen chronologically, starting from March 11th, except in instances where:
- A matchup featured a non-participating team.
- A matchup resulted in either team in the matchup exceeding eight total games.
- A matchup prevented any participating team from having eight feasible matchups.
The seeding games will conclude on August 14th. If a play-in is required to determine the eighth playoff seed in either conference this will take place on August 15th-16th. The first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs will begin on August 17th.
48 primetime games will be aired in the UK live on Sky Sports as part of the league's 'NBA Saturdays' and 'NBA Sundays' primetime initiative.