If the NBA returns with a pod system of several cities where all 30 teams will play the remainder of their schedule without fans in attendance, Indianapolis would be a perfect host city for a variety of reasons.
To be honest, I have no idea what the criteria would be for the NBA in selecting venues because fans will not be a part of the equation for a significant period.
Irrelevant items include:
- Seating capacity
- Concourse size
- Proximity to population centers
There are a few needs to make games look somewhat normal on television:
- Camera platforms with angles similar to what we normally see.
- 10-foot rims, wooden court, about 25 chairs for each team.
I’m a honk for Indianapolis. No question about that, but I think this is a perfect choice as one of three cities for 10 teams to congregate for several weeks to play a lot of basketball against one another.
Here are some of the criteria that make Indy the right choice to convene for a portion of the remainder of the NBA season:
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse is less than two blocks from a multitude of hotels. Players would be able to avoid buses that may not be sterile by walking to and from the Fieldhouse.
- Fans in Indianapolis are not prone to excited gatherings around celebrities. They are allowed to live their lives without being surrounded by gawkers. In other cities, fans would gather, which is exactly what is unwanted during these times of stay at home orders.
- Health care facilities immediately across the street at the St. Vincent’s Center.
- Pacers Sports & Entertainment always eager to mobilize to make Bankers Life Fieldhouse a solution to challenges, not a cause of problems.
- Minimal distractions for players. J.J. Redick said Indy is his least favorite NBA city to travel to, but he almost signed here to play for the Pacers. Great place to live – boring spot to visit! That makes Indy phenomenal for these purposes!
- Small markets are likely to bounce back more quickly from Coronavirus infestation, and Indy is a small market.
- Airport is a quick traffic-free ride from downtown.
Does it really matter that the airport is a 10 minute trip from Bankers Life Fieldhouse? Well, it doesn’t hurt. Why not make this as convenient as possible? Would you rather endure a longer drive? It’s a stretch as a reason to choose Indy, but when choosing among 30 great cities, we need to dig deep to build a long list.
It doesn’t matter much where these games are played – if they are played – but if I were commissioner Adam Silver, I would want to minimize the chances for complications and distractions as the NBA re-boots its season.
Indianapolis is the least complicated city I’ve ever lived in or visited, and I love it! So will the NBA.