Has the Sunshine State has hit the basketball jackpot?
The WNBA may be shifting the tide to return to play with a 22-game regular season, starting July 24, with the league playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., according to ESPN.
The playoffs would begin in October but it’s not clear how the format would look. The players have not agreed to the proposal, which is in the preliminary stage. Some teams are still being passed information.
The WNBA declined to confirm the report. The fact that we are still in a global pandemic also brings about concerns about housing and testing for COVID-19 which have yet to be confirmed.
Florida will be ground zero for where basketball returns. The NBA announced earlier this week that they had received the necessary votes from their board of governors to proceed with the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.
The WNBA was supposed to begin its 36-game regular season on May 15, but the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the 22-game format, players will likely receive 60% of their regular salary which means it’s possible that once players get a whiff of it, there will be some counter proposals placed on the table.
IMG Academy’s basketball complex has four courts according to its website. The WNBA has 12 teams with a maximum roster of 12 players each.
In April, the WNBA became the first professional sports league to conduct an all virtual draft setting the tone for other professional sports leagues to follow. With their season potentially starting roughly a week before the NBA, this could be a coveted opportunity to grasp basketball fans that are malnourished from the live game.
As for now, by July, sports TV programming would have included a few live PGA tournaments, the restart to the National Women’s Soccer League season, which has now been pushed to a tournament in Utah, and which will be without one of its biggest stars, Megan Rapinoe.
The sports world will still be reeling for some live play and the WNBA’s return will put it at center stage.