Operating the three-month completion of the NBA season at the Walt Disney World Resort will cost the NBA more than $150 million, sources told ESPN.
The league is housing 22 teams plus support staff at three resorts, has arranged for seven practice courts and is playing games at three arenas during the quarantine. It is also providing meals, daily coronavirus testing and other medical support, security, transportation and entertainment for more than 1,500 people during the height of the event.
“It comes into play that we feel an obligation to our sport and to the industry to find a new normal,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Time magazine earlier this week. “It doesn’t come into play in terms of dollars and cents because, frankly, it’s not all that economical for us to play on this campus. It’s enormously expensive.”
Not included in this expense is the loss of revenue because teams won’t be selling tickets. The league is projecting to lose more than $1 billion in revenue because of the coronavirus, sources said, even before considering the cost of finishing the season in Orlando.
However, by playing 88 regular-season games and four rounds of playoffs, the league will be sheltering itself from more extended losses. The players will retain more than $600 million in salary that could have been lost if the season were canceled, and NBA teams protected hundreds of millions from potential loss of television revenue.
The Walt Disney Company owns ESPN.