Report: The NBA Is Expected To Play The Rest Of The Season Without Fans Attending Games

When the NCAA announced it would conduct the NCAA Tournament in empty gyms, with only family members, broadcasters, media, and essential staff present, it seemed to mark a major shift in the response to COVID-19 from major sports leagues and entities. The Warriors had already been ordered by San Francisco officials that Thursday’s game would be played without fans at the Chase Center, but Wednesday’s games elsewhere around the league went forward with fans in attendance.

Those games will likely be the last with fans present, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the league’s Board of Governors “shared a consensus” on a conference call Wednesday that the season should proceed without fans present, and the league is expected to announce that move officially on Thursday.

There were alternative discussions that reportedly also took place, such as suspending operations for a period of time or moving games to different venues in areas that had not had an outbreak, but ultimately it seems they will move forward with the season as planned, just without fans. The goal with this and all events being behind closed doors is to flatten the curve of the virus and prevent a massive spike in cases that can overwhelm the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.

As Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes, there will still be discussions on Thursday and it’s a fluid situation where plans can change, particularly should a player contract the virus.

It seems that playing games behind closed doors will be the least dramatic next step taken by the league, with the possibility of having to suspend operations for some time not being out of the question.