How Fan-Less Games Could Pummel the NBA Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The NBA is looking at continuing the rest of their season without fans in attendance due to the ever-expanding coronavirus threat. If they make this decision, it will take a huge financial toll on teams.
Posted in: Op-edSports News
March 12, 2020 1:23 AM UTC
  • Adrian Wojnarowski dropped the ultimate “Woj Bomb” today.
  • He said the NBA might continue the rest of its games this year without fans in the seats.
  • This will have a substantial financial impact on the NBA.

In a day of massive event cancellations due to the coronavirus, it appears as though the biggest chip might fall on Thursday.

The NBA has a significant decision to make. | Source: Twitter

NBA journalist Adrian Wojnarowski posted a story today hinting that the NBA will likely continue its games this year without fans in attendance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA’s Landmark Coronavirus Decision

Nothing is official yet, but Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that NBA owners had a conference call to discuss their coronavirus response today. He states that owners were considering postponing games or continuing games without fans in attendance.

While they haven’t come to a conclusion, Wojnarowski says that they’re leaning towards continuing games without fans.

The NBA appears to be heading towards fan-less games. | Source: Twitter

The Golden State Warriors have already committed to playing their Thursday home game without fans in attendance. This move is on-brand for the franchise who dubbed themselves “lightyears ahead” of the rest of the league.

Wojnarowski says that one team wanted to continue playing games with fans in full attendance. That would be the New York Knicks, the one team who’s lightyears behind the rest of the league.

The New York Knicks are always a few steps behind. | Source: Twitter

Both teams, however, are among the league’s top earners, and they will both be profoundly affected by Thursday’s decision.

How Much Top NBA Teams Could Lose to Fan-Less Games

Based on last year’s team gate receipts on, here’s how much some of the top NBA teams could lose from ticket sales alone for the rest of the regular season.

Golden State Warriors: $15.2 million

New York Knicks: $12.87 million

Los Angeles Lakers: $12.68 million

Toronto Raptors: $11.08 million

Boston Celtics: $9.3 million

LA Clippers: $7.02 million

Luckily, all of these teams have ten or fewer home games left this season. Of course, this doesn’t factor in the playoffs and their increased prices. It also doesn’t account for the millions of dollars in food, drink, and merchandise vendor sales.

Will People Still Want to Watch the NBA on TV?

While the NBA can still rake in money from television viewers, it raises the question: will people want to watch games in empty arenas?

So much of the NBA’s excitement factor comes from fan engagement. Close games with rowdy fans are what makes professional basketball so exciting. We have no idea how these games will feel because this has never happened before. How would this game-winner from last year’s playoffs feel with no audience?

The talented players may be enough to keep the excitement high, but these games may feel like deflated duds. Some star players like LeBron James have already said they won’t play games if there are no fans. I doubt he sticks to that, considering he’s currently making his case for MVP.

Either way, the NBA is facing one of its most trying years ever. After losing Kobe Bryant, it appears as though their challenges are just beginning.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth for If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor, or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us and we will look at it as soon as possible.

Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:03 AM UTC

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Aaron Weaver @aaaaronweaver

Aaron is a contributor and editor for He has been a professional writer and journalist for over ten years. After graduating with honors from Western Michigan University, he's written extensively for newspapers, websites, and various TV shows and web series. Email:

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