As the pandemic continues to get worse and not better, sports teams try to find ways to put more fans in the stands. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors has a plan for dramatically increasing the number of people who attend sporting events.
Via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Warriors hope to have 50-percent capacity for the NBA season that begins next month. Owner Joe Lacob said that the team will spend nearly $30 million to give every fan a rapid-response COVID-19 test before they enter the Chase Center in San Francisco.
“I not only want to get this done and show the world how we can do it now, I’m willing to spend the money to do it,” Lacob said. “This is a serious, serious problem. It cannot go on for multiple years . . . because if this were to go on for several years, the NBA is no more. . . . You cannot sustain this league with no fans. You can do it for a year. We’ll all get by for a year. But suppose we’re in this situation next year. Now we’re talking some serious, serious financial damage to a lot of people.”
The plan, called “Operation DubNation,” hinges on highly-reliable PCR tests that can be analyzed within 15 minutes, without being sent to a lab.
“I want people to understand this is not the Warriors just trying to make more money,” Lacob said. “Yes, we’re trying to get fans and get revenue, but I’m trying to set a standard. I’m trying to show the world how this can be done, safely.”
The tests aren’t cheap, and the costs surely would be passed along in whole or in part to the customer. For many fans, it will be worth it. First, you get to attend a game. Second, you find out that you don’t have the virus, or that you do.
The Warriors have submitted their plan to state and local officials for approval. It could become the template for NFL attendance in 2021, unless the virus makes its long-awaited miraculous disappearance by then.