October 26, 2020
Just over two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship, but under unique circumstances. The 2019-2020 season was abruptly cut off due to COVID-19, which caused the NBA to become creative to restart the season. The NBA wanted to make sure that players and personnel were safe while also putting on a good show for viewers at home.
For everyone involved, this was a tough decision because players and personnel were not allowed to leave to see their family and loved ones. Even though there was hardship involved, the bottom line is that the NBA bubble worked and should be the template that leagues should follow if necessary, for the future.
Most sports came back by August. However, the NBA was the only league that decided to proceed within a full bubble. The top 22 teams made their way to Walt Disney World in hopes of a championship. Each team had their own living arrangements in addition to extracurricular activities provided by the NBA. The league invested $150 billion dollars into this idea that some people doubted would even work.
With this bubble, there were definite concerns how it would pan out. The NBA achieved something that most people thought would be impossible. There were a couple of areas that the NBA excelled at that contributed to the success of the NBA bubble.
First, there were strict guidelines for players that broke protocol. The NBA defined boundaries of who could visit the players and where the players can go. A couple times, players broke those rules and were suspended from playing until they were deemed safe to play again.
Second, the NBA had 0 positive cases of COVID-19. The issue that many critics had going into the NBA bubble is how the league would handle positive cases. The NBA did such a great job that they did not have to deal with that scenario.
Finally, the promotion of the bubble was unprecedented. The idea of the greatest basketball players in the world all living amongst each other has never been thought of before. The NBA did a great job promoting this to viewers and thus bringing a positive view of the bubble as a whole.
Many would refute the idea that the NBA bubble was a “success.” After all, the ratings and viewership both declined with one of the least-viewed NBA Finals in decades. However, with all four major American sports playing at once, viewership was bound to decline. The NBA’s goal was not to boost their ratings or viewership, but to restart the NBA season safely but effectively.
Leagues should look at the NBA as an example if a bubble is needed in the future. The goal at the beginning of the season was to crown a champion in 2020. Even with a large break, the NBA accomplished their goal by crowning the Lakers, but also in a way that promotes the safety of every individual within the NBA framework.
Written by Mike Tammaro
Mike Tammaro is a Junior double majoring in Finance and Economics and writes for the blog in order to expand my skills as a student. As a business major, the curriculum does not allow for a lot of creative writing, so being able to publish written work is freeing from my normal educational routine.