No fans – No problem for the New Orleans Pelicans?
Playing in front of an empty arena is now a reality for the New Orleans Pelicans as the 2019-20 season is expected to pick up in just over a month.
The New Orleans Pelicans are going to have to adjust to the new reality of the NBA and the world.
The end of July will be different for the NBA in so many ways. From the central location that all teams will play, from to the new format that leads to the playoffs, to the continued procedures to keep the players, coaches and staffers on the teams and at the resorts safe, the changes will be plentiful.
The biggest one that will be the most noticeable at home: the lack of fans in the stands.
How will the players respond? That won’t be known until they actually play.
Back in March when the season was postponed just minutes before the New Orleans Pelicans were scheduled to tip off in Sacramento, Zion Williamson spoke about playing in an empty arena.
“It would definitely be weird at first but I think when you start chalking it up in the win and loss column, it won’t be so weird after all,” Williamson said on March 11.
The Pels have had plenty of time to reconcile the fact that any game played this season will be in front of pretty much nobody. It’s a given that Alvin Gentry and the coaching staff will do what they can to have the team prepared for the unusual circumstances that this format presents.
As Gentry said in a recent podcast with the NBA, “We were playing really good basketball and we plan on picking up where we left off.”
How about the TV coverage? Will they pump in fan noise to give those at home a better viewing experience? We’ve seen how it works with the coverage of international football, as the commentators are often struggling to speak when normally the chants of the crowd would be a part of the broadcast.
One report suggested that the NBA would use NBA2K crowd noise in the arena.
The fan experience will be altered but you can bet that the powers that be at Turner Sports and ESPN are hard at work planning their game coverage that maximizes the experience for the fans that would prefer to be in the stands rather than at home watching the games.
The social media and broadcast teams are gearing up for how they’ll present game highlights, interviews and more to keep the fans engaged and informed on what is going on.
© The Fan Experience Company 2020