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Volume 27 No. 30
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NBA Owners, Union Working To Bring Fans Back Next Season

Fans make up just one of the many revenue streams owners hope to get back next season
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

NBA team owners and the NBPA are “going to do everything they can to -- in some shape or form -- have fans in arenas” next season, even if that is socially distanced, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A main reason for that is the “owners’ appetite … to get the revenue streams back.” Wojnarowski said, “Financially, it’s scary to have the fans out for this long. You just can’t assume everyone’s going to come flooding back. People find other things to do in this world. You don’t want people out of NBA buildings for so long that it’s not a habit anymore.” While the NBA has not completely ruled out another bubble to start the ‘20-21 season, it is the “last thing anyone wants to do right now” (“The Woj Pod,” ESPN.com, 9/23).

NOT SO SIMPLE: THE ATHLETIC's Fred Katz noted having fans is "more complicated than just waiting for proper accuracy, availability and speed from rapid testing." Teams are "at the mercy of their local jurisdictions." Right now, some cities "aren't even able to get a game going." Katz: "If the Wizards, for example, had to play tomorrow, they would not be able to do it in Washington." DC is in Phase 2, in which gatherings of more than 50 people are not allowed. Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO Ted Leonsis said, "The goals are to play in the year 2021 ... in front of as many fans as we can. I think that's the reason that we're not definitive on a date, yet." He added, "What phase are you in locally will be one, and that gets determined by the local (government). Two, how reliable is testing, local testing, real-time testing? Three, will some kind of inoculation vaccine be available?" Leonsis: "Everyone is working to try and figure out what's the best way to proceed with a new season while still focused on, how do we end this season safely? But there's been no discussion, no owners meeting yet that says, 'Here's when the next season starts, and you're gonna be having fans.' And those decisions will be kinda market by market" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/24).