Sport NBA reportedly expects full arenas for games starting next season
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: Get through it, play enough games to meet television contract requirements, try to keep players healthy while trying to (all while knowing teams will lose a lot this season). Then, next season, get back to “normal” with a schedule that starts in October and full arenas.
The NBA expects the second part of that — full arenas — to happen in the fall thanks to the speed of the vaccine rollout in recent months,.
What’s new is the NBA teaming up with biometric screening company CLEAR — something familiar to many from airport security lines — as a way to help fans both show they are vaccinated and help those fans feel safe in an arena full of people. From Holmes at ESPN.
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A key aspect toward that effort is the NBA’s new multiyear leaguewide partnership with Clear, a biometric screening company known for its expedited security process at hundreds of airports worldwide. The partnership makes CLEAR’s COVID-19 health screening technology available to all 30 teams in their NBA arenas, and it’s expected to help facilitate more fans returning to games, though it’s up to each team how to use the technology.
Fans can download the CLEAR health app, upload a picture of themselves and proof of vaccination, and answer a few health screening questions. From a press release from CLEAR the corporation:
CLEAR’s Health Pass allows fans to securely access and verify their health information prior to entering an arena. Additionally, as COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered across the country, CLEAR’s Health Pass will soon offer the ability to link an individual’s vaccination records to their Health Pass account.
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There are only six weeks left of the regular season for rookies to make their impactBy this point in the season, some first-year players hit that "rookie wall," succumbing to the grind of their first full year in the NBA and their performances on the floor start to waver. But what we're seeing this season is consistent performances from many of the draft class' top players, and several late bloomers, like R.J. Hampton and Chuma Okeke down in Orlando.
Again from ESPN:
Before entering the venue, fans can open the app, verify their identity with another selfie and then answer health survey questions. (There are also expected to be an unspecified number of Clear kiosks where fans receive a temperature check and scan their QR code.) Fans are issued a red or green notification depending on their COVID-related health information.
A Clear spokesperson noted that the arenas only receive information about whether a fan has passed the requirements for access and not any private health information from the individual.
The goal is to create a safe environment — and just as importantly, make people feel safe filling indoor arenas again by the tens of thousands. The NBA’s economic model depends on those people. But. And beyond the passport, other people are not going to be comfortable with CLEAR having their biometric data.
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Some rookies are getting more opportunity as the season progressesCharlotte was humming like a well-oiled machine after putting Ball into the starting lineup, and it rose as high as the fourth seed in the East in part because of his play. There's hope that he'll be able to return before the end of the regular season, but the Hornets won't want to rush his recovery along for what looks like a bright future for him and the franchise.
It’s impossible to predict what life in the United States will look like come October, even if, as a nation, we reach a level of “herd immunity.” State restrictions may still vary and impact arenas. On a more individual level, some people can’t wait to get back to what life was like before the pandemic; others are warier and hesitant after the experience of the last year.
The NBA wants everyone to feel comfortable coming back to games — and spending their money — and is looking for ways to make people feel more comfortable doing so. They are hoping Clear can help with that.
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James Harden shares thoughts on reception he might get in Houston .
The Rockets tried to repair their relationship with Harden before trading him, but the former MVP was not interested in making it work. He told Andrews that he never thought he would leave Houston but realized he had “different goals.”“The communication between myself and the front office got a little shaky,” Harden said. “And now I look back at it and I see these other scenarios, other situations that are happening, specifically around other players that are in Houston, in different sports. And their transition is going very smooth. And I would’ve hoped for mine to go that smooth, but it didn’t. I am where I am now.