The WNBA is engaged in talks to hold a 22-game regular season this summer at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, starting next month, according to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel.
The usual 36-game regular season was initially scheduled to start on May 15, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new plan, per Voepel, is still “tentative.” Players have not yet agreed to the proposal and some teams are still being informed about the details. It’s also unclear how the postseason would work, or what coronavirus-related safety measures will be in place.
Under the proposed plan, the regular season would start on July 24 and the playoffs would end at some point in October. The end date is similar to what it would have been if the season was played on time, as the league built in a break for the Tokyo Olympics in July and August. The 2020 games, however, were pushed back a year due to the coronavirus.
The IMG Academy, located just south of Tampa, is a “world-renowned boarding school” that frequently hosts professional athletes during offseason training times. Notable athletes who have trained there include Serena Williams, Jimmy Butler, Cam Newton, Paula Creamer, Maria Sharapova, Russell Wilson and more, per their website. The facility has four courts available for the 12 WNBA teams.
There were more than 1.8 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 108,000 deaths attributed to it. Florida had more than 60,000 confirmed cases, however Manatee County — where Bradenton is located — had just more than 1,100 cases.
The report comes the same day that the NBA’s Board of Governors approved commissioner Adam Silver’s plan to resume play on July 31 at Disney World near Orlando, Florida.
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