When you think of Disney, the first thing that pops into your head probably isn’t “basketball.”
Still, Disney actually has a pretty close relationship with the NBA in more ways than one. You might have heard about the NBA Experience in Disney Springs or maybe you’ve watched basketball on Disney-owned ESPN, but those aren’t the ONLY ways these two companies are linked.
Come with us down the strange, winding rabbit hole of seven weird ways that Disney and the NBA are connected right NOW!
1. The NBA might use Disney World as a potential playing site if the 2019-2020 season resumes.
The big NBA/Disney news right now is that IF the NBA 2019-2020 season is able to resume, they’re considering using Disney World as a potential venue for (fan-less) games. They’ve even already gotten the “OK” from Disney!
The NBA has been looking at the logistics of sequestering the entire league. If play could resume at one centralized location, the league could create a “bubble” to keep the players safe.
If such a situation came to pass, it would be pretty unique to see Disney help get the NBA back up and running.
2. An NBA Player ended up in possession of some stolen vintage Disney World items.
There was a theft case over some missing vintage Disney items a few months ago. Interestingly enough, the stolen items ended up in the possession of mega-Disney fan and Milwaukee Bucks center Robin Lopez.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, authorities found some vintage Disney clothing that used to belong to the Buzzy animatronic from the old Cranium Command attraction in Epcot in Lopez’s possession. The player claimed he did not know that the items were stolen, but he had purchased them from a former Disney employee who had stolen them from Disney property.
The case has since been settled with the perpetrators taking a plea deal. The situation was pretty high profile, partially because of Lopez’s involvement and because the entire Buzzy animatronic that was stolen still remains missing! The perpetrators claim to have no knowledge of the missing animatronic.
3. Disney is taking a major financial loss due to the suspension of the NBA season.
Remember how we said that Disney owns ESPN? Well, they are taking a significant loss due to the fact that the NBA season has been suspended. According to The Motley Fool, the NBA’s media rights deal with ESPN is worth $2.6 billion per year. Right now, that worth is taking a hit with downgrades to stock and losses in ad revenue.
Some analysts are suggesting that the loss could culminate in a multi-million dollar drop in income due to the NBA alone. It’s interesting to think about how the two businesses have such a dramatic effect on one another!
4. The NBA is looking to Bob Iger for guidance on reopening.
Even though the NBA is completely separate from Disney, the league is reportedly looking to Disney’s executive chairman Bob Iger for some business guidance.
Iger was invited to advise the Board of Governors of the NBA and he addressed how the Disney parks have been making decisions saying, “It’s about the data, and not the date.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appears to agree with this sentiment noting, “We’re just not ready to set a date yet in terms of how long we could wait before we no longer would be able to continue this season.”
The two companies are both MASSIVE entertainment-based organizations that notably require people to come together for their business models to work.
5. The NBA Experience opened in Disney Springs in 2019.
Though temporarily closed right now, the NBA Experience opened up in Disney Springs last year. For several years, Disney Springs had a major indoor interactive attraction in the same space called DisneyQuest, but as technology advanced, the experience grew stagnant. So, ultimately, the plug was pulled on DisneyQuest and replaced by a new immersive experience — one that’s b-ball-centric.
NBA Experience has been open for almost a year now and offers a unique sports experience. The two-story attraction features a bunch of immersive activities designed to make the guest (that’s you) feel like an NBA star. This attraction is a cool option for sports fans!
6. The NBA and Disney theme parks announced closures within one day of each other.
Like we mentioned, the Disney parks and the NBA are both in a state of temporary closure right now. What’s interesting is that they actually started their closures within one day of each other! The NBA suspended their season on March 11th and Disney announced the closure of many of their theme parks on March 12th.
Both companies noted a growing concern in the global health crisis and were some of the first large organizations to close or suspend operations to protect their employees and patrons.
7. The new Michael Jordan documentary is the most-watched ESPN documentary EVER.
And our last interesting link to note is related to the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. This ESPN docuseries has been on the channel for a few weeks and, according to the Disney earnings call the other day, it’s the most-watched ESPN documentary EVER. Woah.
What’s crazy is that this is making ESPN (and therefore Disney) some serious money despite the fact that there aren’t a lot of sports going on. In fact, April brought a rise in primetime viewership per CEO Christine McCarthy.
So there you have it! It certainly shocked us how intertwined Disney and the NBA are with each other! We love finding interesting things like this to share with you guys and we’re interested to see what ends up happening with a few of these situations.
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Were you surprised about the different ways that Disney and the NBA are linked? Tell us in the comments!