By ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The NBA may complete their season at Walt Disney World.
In an interview with ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, Bob Chapek, the chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, revealed that Disney and the NBA are currently in conversations to finish their season at Walt Disney World.
“We would be thrilled to see the NBA finish up their season at Walt Disney World,” said Chapek. “Our wide World Sports Facility is not only enormous, but it’s state of the art. And we’re in daily conversations with the NBA to see if this is something that they want to happen.”
“We would like to get sports back,” Chapek added. “People want Disney theme parks, but they also want live sports. And if we can play a part in making both of those happen for all of our fans, we’d love to do that.”
The NBA was among the first sports leagues in the U.S. to suspend their season due to the coronavirus pandemic. After a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in March, the NBA announced it would indefinitely halt games after a player tested positive for coronavirus.
Most NBA teams had about 15 to 20 games left, and the season was set to end on April 15, with playoffs to begin three days later.
During that time, the league had discussed playing games in empty arenas without fans, but players like LeBron James and Steph Curry had spoken out against the idea.
“Everything about our routines is reliant upon that kind of game day energy,” Curry said when reports surfaced that games at the Chase Center in San Francisco would be played without fans after the mayor banned gatherings of over 1,000 people.
While it’s still not confirmed whether the NBA will pick up and finish their season at Walt Disney World, and it’s unclear how they’ll incorporate NBA fans into the experience, Chapek said Disney is willing to work with the NBA on how to manage those details.
“We’ll leave that up to the NBA if this comes to pass in terms of how they manage the fan piece of this,” said Chapek. “But as you know, we stand here ready, willing and able to facilitate whatever we can do in a responsible way.”
Chapek’s news comes as Walt Disney World announced a phased reopening plan on Wednesday for its parks, with July 11 as a targeted opening date for the Magic Kingdom and July 15 as the planned reopening date for Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Plans to reopen the parks also include new safety measures for guests.
Disney is the parent company of ABC News.
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