The NBA sure is lucky that Major League Soccer volunteered to be its guinea pig. For if MLS’s nightmare in getting its monthlong Orlando tournament off the ground is any indication, the NBA might want to follow the lead of another league and finish its coronavirus-cursed season not in Central Florida, or even the United States.
It might want to move to Canada.
While the U.S. continues to report record numbers of new infections — Florida had more than 10,000 on Sunday for the second consecutive day — America’s neighbor to the north actually has a handle on this heath crisis. That’s why the National Hockey League, which shares 11 arenas and an almost identical schedule with the NBA, ultimately decided against restarting in Chicago or Columbus or Las Vegas or Los Angeles after much consideration. The remainder of the NHL season will instead be staged entirely north of the border, in Toronto and Edmonton.
The NBA and MLS identified Orlando as an ideal site to restart early in the pandemic. Back then, the plan made sense. Florida had few cases. The state was determined to reopen. The sprawling Walt Disney World complex was perfect for housing thousands of players and team staff in a tightly controlled “bubble,” and both leagues already had long-standing relationships with Disney-owned broadcaster ESPN.