Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL has emerged as the “clear frontrunner” to as the NBA’s return-to-play site to finish up the 2019-20 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The city’s emergence is further confirmation that the league will return to play in a central location unlike Major League Baseball, which is working toward an Opening Day in early July with games played at all home ballparks.
A singular neutral site has been the likely avenue for the NBA to take since play was suspended on March 11 following the coronavirus outbreak.
Other sites like Las Vegas were also believed to have been considered, but Charania noted that Orlando resort has gained more momentum.
Disney World was first tabbed as a potential NBA site on April 29 thanks to its Wide World of Sports, a 220-acre athletic complex that features numerous courts to host several games at the same time, hotels to lodge either 30 or 16 teams depending on if the NBA resumes the regular season or jumps straight into the playoffs, and is roughly 30 miles from the Orlando Magic’s training facilities.
Los Angeles and the Bahamas were also discussed as possible options since the league’s suspension of play.