The Orlando Bubble: NBA’s Anti-Coronavirus Zone

Kyle Raskopin and Aiden Stepansky

Starting on March 11, 2020, the NBA dramatically changed the way it plays games. The coronavirus took the world by surprise and forced the NBA to overcome new obstacles that the virus presented. On July 22, 2020, the NBA entered a new world which NBA commissioner Adam Silver named “the bubble.” 

Out of the 30 NBA teams in the league, only the top 22 teams were invited to enter the bubble in Orlando. Most players from the teams decided to play, but a few opted out due to the fear of getting the virus or to fight for racial justice. 

The NBA took drastic measures to counter the virus and continue playing basketball. The first change the NBA made was to eliminate fan attendance at games. In the 2019-2020 NBA season, an average of 17,750 fans attended each game; however, in the NBA bubble there are 0 in-person fans at the games to limit the spread of infection. 

The NBA decided to replicate the fan base at games with virtual fans who appear on a big screen surrounding the court where the games are played. The inclusion of virtual fans was a great success: it limited the chance of infection and allowed fans to still attend the game they love. Through 172 NBA games that were played in the bubble, 0 NBA players were infected with Covid-19. These statistics prove the NBA bubble was a success.