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.
In a day of massive event cancellations due to the coronavirus, it appears as though the biggest chip might fall on Thursday.
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.
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 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.
Both teams, however, are among the league’s top earners, and they will both be profoundly affected by Thursday’s decision.
Based on last year’s team gate receipts on statista.com, 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.
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 CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: March 12, 2020 4:51 AM UTC