‘All in’: Gov. Ron DeSantis ready for NBA at Disney

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Orlando, he said, is the best place for a sports reboot.

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ hoop dreams may become realities, with the National Basketball Association poised to resume its modified season at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

“Let’s just say this: I’m all in from the state’s perspective,” DeSantis told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t think you can find a better place than Orlando to do this.”

The NBA is looking at a 22-team, eight game season to determine playoff seeding, before moving forward with playoffs. The action would start this summer, resuming a season that was paused in March after players tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

DeSantis said the news is also good for the league’s growth.

“I think people are hungry for this,” DeSantis said. “I think they are going to bring more and more fans into the fold and I think here in Orlando would be a great place to do it.”

The Governor, addressing reporters in Orlando Wednesday, said should the plan come to pass, it would fulfill a policy goal. He has maintained during the period of economic and movement restrictions he put in place this spring that people are “starved for content” in the sports realm.

DeSantis also entertained the idea of  Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball making a return in Orlando too.

“We’ve told baseball Florida wants to be a part. I don’t know how you’re going to do it but we would love to be a part of the solution to be able to get that sport going again,” DeSantis added. “Obviously we’d love to see Major League Soccer as well. Orlando really can be the epicenter of the come back of professional sports.

Last month, the Governor said the return of sports was good for “mojo.”

“Florida can be a venue,” DeSantis said. “I’ve made it very clear to a bunch of leagues and individual athletes.”

The Governor has said that college football stadiums, such as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, could host NFL games on Sundays.

Addressing reporters in Tallahassee the previous week, he urged Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer to bring their contests to the Sunshine State.

“What I would tell commissioners of leagues is if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for them,” DeSantis said. “We think it’s important and we know it can be done safely.”

While those leagues have thus far resisted overtures from the Governor, it appears that professional basketball may lead the way to the return of professional team sports in the U.S.

While it remains to be seen if that will happen, fighting sports and approximations thereof, in the form of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and All Elite Wrestling, have held extended runs in Jacksonville, where a sports-friendly Mayor has eagerly showcased the city.

Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski contributed to this report. 

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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