The Coronavirus virus is starting to spread throughout the United States, with several companies and brands pulling out of events and travel.
Just yesterday, Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler announced that the SXSW Festival & Conference was canceled, preventing close to 400,000 people from visiting Austin.
Now, it looks like the NBA is making pre-cautionary plans to play games with only essential staff, players and refs, and without any fans.
Sources: The NBA has sent a memo to its franchises explaining that, due to coronavirus outbreak, teams should be preparing to play games without fans in attendance and identifying “essential staff” present for these games -- should it be necessary.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 7, 2020
NBA has been sending several informational memos to teams in order to prepare for whatever develops from coronavirus situation. A reminder of existing rules regarding postponement or cancellations of games was provided Friday night. https://t.co/17ac6wSiDt— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 7, 2020
Postponing or canceling any game due to the coronavirus is a league office decision but the NBA, sources say, has notified teams to start "developing" contingency plans in case "it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present" -- no fans, media, etc— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 7, 2020
Lebron James is not on board with any plans to play games without fans:
"We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, and I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. So if I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do," James said last night after the Lakers beat the Bucks.