The NBA’s Soft Approach to Reopening it’s Stadium’s Doors
We are just over three months into having professional basketball back and NBA fans are loving it. It is one thing to root for your favorite team on the big screen, but what about the possibility of going to see your favorite team play in person? There is nothing like being in the same space as your favorite player while drinking overpriced beverages and eating a $20 hot dog. The NBA has set out to get fans back, but there is one thing stopping each team from stepping back into this setting: that arena’s corresponding state government. I will give you, the reader, two cases that help decipher two team’s current statuses. The Miami Heat have a great fan base. With numerous famous socialites going to every home game, watching one of the most exciting teams in the league play, ticket sales are a huge part of the business for the Heat. Miami and Florida as a whole have permitted the state to reopen certain public events, which includes sporting events. The Heat allow in about 10-15% capacity of their stadium so that the fans can once again watch their favorite players up close and truly live (Linder). On the other hand, the Golden State Warriors have not allowed fans back into their brand new arena, dubbed the Chase Center, because of Governor Newsom and his firm stance on keeping people at home to lessen the spread of Covid-19. The Warriors organization is dying to get fans and revenue back into their brand new center that cost them a whopping 1.4 billion dollars (Medved). They are significantly bleeding from this investment that is returning no profits so far, but all that could stop today if California’s government changed its mind. One other issue: California is so big, having 4 different NBA teams, it really does not make sense to assign the same public gathering rules for each team. I am sure the LA and Sacramento organizations and communities differ a little in their Covid-19 philosophies. I am not looking to say that either team is doing 100% perfectly the right thing. The Heat and Florida are right to allow fans, at their own risk, to come to games...but maybe they should be protecting the fans from themselves. The Warriors and California are right for protecting their fans, but shouldn’t the decision to come out and support your team be up to the person and not big brother?
How much are fans, or lack thereof, affecting games this season? We can never really know, but I’d like to think that the players would showcase their skills and emotions a little differently with real outsider eyes on them as opposed to a bunch of different cameras. Fourteen NBA teams are currently allowing fans to attend games, and some evidence suggests that it’s having an impact on home-court advantage (Linder). Yet as some focus on the competitive aspect of bringing fans in, others remain wary of the health risks.
Lindner, Andrew M., and Daniel N. Hawkins. "Why the NBA Shut Down First: How Partisan Polarization Informs Sports and Public Health." National Perspectives on Sport and the Covid-19 Lockdown: 169.
Medved, Michael. "A New Gold Standard for Sports PSLs: The Provisions That Allow the Golden State Warriors to Overpower a Bankruptcy Estate." J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 13 (2019): 245.