Skip to main content

The NBA is looking to have a limited number of fans at games amid the global coronavirus pandemic, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The league reportedly is aiming to have 25–50% fan capacity in arena suites. Fans would have to adhere to COVID-19 protocols like social distancing, wearing face masks and undergoing coronavirus testing. Other changes to fan protocol could include courtside seats sitting 10-12 feet away from the court.

"The NBA's goal is some amount of fans to start the season, depending on each market's restrictions," reports Charania.

The league has yet to set a start date for the 2020-21 season, but the National Basketball Players Association could vote on a potential Dec. 22 start date as soon as Thursday night.

SI Recommends

Charania reported earlier this week that players have had several calls recently about next season's start date and feel that a Dec. 22 start is inevitable. If the season started next month, it would reportedly include a 72-game regular-season schedule with an All-Star break that lasts for six days in early March. 

A Jan. 18 start date is also being considered, though, the possible financial ramifications of the start date could be significant. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes also reported that a "substantial faction" of NBA players are pushing the league to start the season on Jan. 18.

Given that the Lakers took home the NBA championship on Oct. 11, the team would only have a two-month offseason if the league starts in December. Usually, the offseason is roughly 140 days.

Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that the NBA was planning to begin the season without fans in the stands. The league hopes to play games in home arenas in 2020-21 and is "open to the idea of regional pods and intra-conference scheduling."