- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

Monumental Sports and Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis said Sunday that he believes when the NBA, NHL and WNBA seasons resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, it will happen in host cities rather than in every team’s home arena.

Appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, said he’s optimistic for the leagues to start up again, but added it would have to do so without fans.

The concept of a host city — or bubble — has become popular as the leagues try to come up with a plan on how to relaunch their seasons. The NBA, for instance, has discussed playing in Las Vegas or Orlando.

“I believe that the remainder of this season, we will try to create a safe haven, a bubble where the players and the NHL would pick a couple of arenas in North America, maybe a couple in Canada, and just put 40 or 50 people in each organization in a hotel, and then shuttle them to the arena, test them very often and just make sure that we can play the games and get to the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “Not only do we owe the programming to the networks, but we owe it to our fans, and you’d like to be able to compete for the Stanley Cup and not have an asterisk.

“You’d like to be able to give the championship, and I think that’ll happen also in the NBA. It’s sad right now, but we’ll get through it.”



The NBA paused its season two months ago and the NHL followed suit soon after. According to The Athletic, the NHL has discussed resuming the season with a 24-team playoff. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that canceling the season is “something I’m not even contemplating.”

“I believe all three teams will play,” Leonsis said.”We will let the NBA and NHL try to finish some or all of the regular season and then go into the playoffs. We just won’t be doing it with fans. We’re focused on the health and safety for our fans and also our players.”

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