There have been new COVID-19 cases over the last four weeks of the now-shortened NBA season.
There has also been strict testing everyday and big controls for all related personal and supporting staff. There is careful monitoring of players who leave and return from family responsibilities, which is working fairly well. And yes, the bubble.
That last part is key. All games and basketball players reside in the massive Walt Disney World Resort sports facility. This isn’t perfect. There have been some positive cases recorded.
NHL hockey actually does one better -- with a slight variation on this theme. It has two bubbles, one in Toronto, another in Edmonton. No positive tests at all -- though there were two tests (out of 6,874) previously from the league’s training camp period restart.
The bubble approach isn’t for all sports. Major League Baseball doesn’t work this way, and it has faced big issues regarding some teams.
Now football season is upon us -- professional and college. For its part, many NFL players are a bit leery. The leagues has no plans to play under a bubble of one giant facility.
Two big college conferences -- the Big Ten and Pacific 12 conferences -- aren’t even going to try. Both have cancelled their respective seasons, amounting to a possible collective loss of $1 billion in national TV advertising for the TV networks involved.
In addition to the obvious physical contact football players have, and the logistical nightmare of travel, there is cost. For example, the NBA had to fork over $150 million total costs, according to ESPN.com, to play in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.
Money and a pandemic throwing their weight around in sports?
No wonder some bubbles leak. (Or maybe burst?)