Even with the ongoing pandemic showing no sign of slowing down, at least in the United States, we are seeing the return of many sports leagues and competitions. There have been many states which have had to reverse their orders to open up the economy and allow people to move around freely, after seeing case numbers shoot up drastically. In light of this, it is not surprising to note that all these sports leagues are returning within secure ‘bubbles’, where players, coaches, staff members, and the other staff are going to be isolated in one location, with regular testing being carried out to detect if anyone has the virus. The NBA is following a similar approach and is due to resume its 2019/20 season after it was suspended back in March, following a positive test for Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert.
22 of the NBA’s 30 teams are in a biosecure bubble at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports complex in Florida. The aim of the NBA is to finish the regular season and then have the post-season tournament as usual. The NBA restarts on 30th July, with two ‘seeding games’. All 22 teams will play eight regular-season matches to arrive at the playoff seedings. This stretch of games will run till 14th August. There is also the possibility for play-in games to determine the final playoff seeds, the ninth-placed team is within four games of the eighth-place one, which will be held on 15th and 16th August. The 2020 NBA playoffs will start on 17th August, with the Conference Semi-Finals starting on 31st August and the Conference Finals beginning on 15th September. The NBA finals series will start on September 30th, with Game 7 (if needed) taking place on 13th October, to finish off the season.
Of course, these matches will all take place behind closed doors, with no fans in attendance. This is, of course, to keep fans safe in the current scenario. Even when various entertainment venues and recreational options are opening up, it is better for people to stay home as much as possible. Casinos are the best example of this. Many states are allowing casinos to reopen with safety guidelines in place, but it is safer for customers to stay home and play casino games online. This is especially because most of the clientele for casinos are older people, who are more vulnerable to catching the virus. In a similar way, it makes the most sense for these games to be held in the absence of fans, as we have been seeing globally with other sports that have returned as well. Of course, once the virus eases, fans can be allowed to return to stadiums and arenas, but it is unlikely that this will come to pass during the 2020 NBA season.
So, if fans need to stay at home, how can they catch their favorite NBA players and teams in action? The league will be broadcast on TNT, ESPN, and ABC along with NBA’s own NBA TV in the USA. Regional sports networks will also be showing the games. Additionally, there are a variety of streaming platforms where fans can watch the NBA season. The likes of YouTube, Sling TV, Hulu, AT&T TV Now, and FuboTV will all have the various national channels mentioned earlier which will be showing these matches. YouTube and AT&T TV Now would be the best option for fans looking to catch as many matches as possible, since they have all four national broadcasters. NBA League Pass subscribers can also watch games online on the NBA website or the NBA app, and they will also be able to catch out-of-market games.