When the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the United States, sports fans were uncertain when they would be able to watch professional sports again. After many months of anticipation and planning, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have come up with a solution to this problem.
Both the NBA and the NHL have decided that a bubble could help them finish their seasons as the pandemic struck right before the playoffs. The NBA will be finishing their season at Walt Disney World while the NHL has two hub cities that are located in Edmonton and Toronto. These hub cities are isolated locations where these athletes will live and play until the postseason ends.
At these locations, the athletes have to follow specific protocols each day in order to avoid being removed from the bubble. Athletes are required to take a swab test each day, wear a mask, and socially distance when possible. Both leagues have yielded no positive test results in the past weeks.
Junior Robert Stevens said he supports the bubble and how it has allowed the NHL and NBA to continue on with their playoffs.
“I think the results and statistics speak for themselves,” Stevens said. “Since the bubble, there have been no outbreaks and they have been able to keep on the path of crowning a champion.”
Junior Craig Gazilli notes that everything in terms of player safety has worked exactly as planned.
“Everything has worked out so far for the NBA and NHL,” Gazilli said. “You don’t see players or coaches testing positive for COVID-19 and the restricted area make sure they aren’t in contact with anyone so they can still play.”
On the other hand, Major League Baseball has stuck to playing in front of empty crowds across the United States – the normal expectation for baseball aside from the lack of fans. Although the MLB tests every day, they do not have a centralized location and have had to cancel or postpone games because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Freshman Marquinn Williams likes the idea of a bubble in baseball or even the National Football League, but doesn’t believe it can work.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Williams said. “It’s just going to be extremely difficult because there are more players on every team.”
The typical NBA roster has 15 players and the typical NHL roster has 20 players compared to the MLB which has 28 and the NFL which has 53.
Gazilli also believes that the bubble model for the MLB and NFL is “illogical,” and it wouldn’t work as well for these leagues.
“This model seems illogical for the NFL and MLB because they’re starting their seasons,” Gazilli said. “The MLB plays too many games to be restricted to a few cities and an NFL hub city would force teams to play on inadequate fields where injuries are more likely to happen.”
Although the hub cities are working for the NBA and NHL, it seems like sports fans aren’t convinced it will work for the MLB or NFL.
Stevens explained how he thinks the hub city idea for the NFL is almost impossible.
“The NFL is a different animal because of the amount of players and staff surrounding them,” Stevens said. “I think for them it’s just hoping that the people getting paid make sacrifices to ensure the safety of their teammates and opponents.”
“If there is a possibility for the NFL, then that option needs to be explored,” Stevens said.