MLS could join the NBA in setting up shop this summer at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports and area soccer pitches, as teams could resume the 2020 MLS season in the House of Mouse this summer.
Under the plan, players, support staff and coaches would take over one of the currently closed Disney resorts and set up camp for an undetermined length of time in order to resume the 2020 MLB season. Currently the WWoS complex features 17 multiuser fields that can be configured for soccer, and Champion Stadium, former Atlanta Braves spring home, can also be configured with a soccer pitch. Practices could also be played at the expanded Orlando City training complex in Kissimmee.
The angle for Disney: games would be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+, giving the cable giant some sorely needed content. But like every sports league looking to resume plan, MLS officials would need to work out protocols as to who would be allowed into the soccer bubble and what would happen if a COVID-19-positive test were recorded. Regular testing to an extent not currently offered in most U.S. cities would need to be increased, and player screenings would need to be implemented as well. And, of course, precautions would need to be taken for anyone in contact with players, including resort workers, TV crews, presumably broadcasters and WWoS employees.
The Disney World WWoS plan isn’t expected to be a long-term solution to the 2020 MLS season; it’s seen as a way to launch play in the short term. The long-term plan would be getting the season started and then sending teams home, potentially playing in empty stadiums before fans are allowed to watch play live.
Last week MLS took a big step toward resumption of the 2020 season by allowing teams to open training fields to players under highly supervised circumstances.
Photo courtesy Disney.
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