The number of victims of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to increase throughout the world as fear and concern get mingled and cause panic in just about every industry.
The global sports market has also been impacted significantly and the National Basketball League (NBA) is now looking to take extra precautions as the playoffs approach as well as other top US Sports leagues.
The authorities and health organizations all over the world are sending out cautionary statements warning people to stay away from public gatherings as COVID-19 is contagious. The NBA regular season ends on April 15 and one usually expects sold out stadiums for the playoffs.
This time around the NBA is concerned over packed out stadiums and is considering the possibility of staging matches in empty stadiums. The NBA has reportedly sent out an email to the different franchises informing them of their plans and asked them to be ready to play in front of empty stadiums and this move will significantly reduce the risks of players and fans.
The NBA also sent out a memo to different franchises last week asking franchise owners to put in place necessary precautions in light of COVID-19. Part of these contingency measures includes limiting the number of arena and support staff the players will have to interact with during each game.
While some of the other sports organizations across the world have preferred to cancel or postpone their season/games, the NBA has decided to move forward as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has been very small. As of now there have been 17 deaths in America and 330 individuals who have contracted the virus.
LeBron James Not Willing To Play In Empty Stadiums
While the NBA is looking to protect its players, the league’s biggest superstar LeBron James is not having it. The LA Lakers superstar said that he wasn’t down with the NBA’s proposal of playing in front of empty seats and said he will not play if the fans don’t show up.
James has a lot of influence and it is quite possible that a number of other NBA players might agree with him. All of the NBA players love having their fans cheer them on and create a buzz in the arena, especially superstars like LeBron James. If he and some of the other top players decide to not play in empty arenas, the NBA will have a problem on its hands apart from COVID-19 concerns.