Plan for college hoops bubble at Disney World is off after talks stall over testing


A proposal for a basketball bubble encore at Disney World in Orlando, Florida have been shelved.

ESPN and a group of college hoops programs have scrapped tentative arrangements to hold a series of preseason tournaments in a bubble-like environment at Disney, it was announced on Monday.

The Worldwide Leader would have aired the tournaments, which are typically staged independent of each other and broadcasted by the network.

The failed talks came after weeks of stalled negotiations over safety protocols -- including testing -- for participating the teams, reports said.

The network was angling for testing protocols in keeping with the CDC, while some schools wanted relatively less stringent testing as laid out by their respective conferences, The Athletic reported.

The cancellation and postponement of the tournaments comes only about a month prior to the scheduled tipoff for the season, presently set for Nov. 25.

ESPN confirmed the news in a statement.

"ESPN Events set out to create a protected environment for teams to participate in early-season events in Orlando," the network said. "Based on certain challenges surrounding testing protocols, we opted to resume these tournaments during the 2021-22 season."

Among the affected tournaments were the Champions Classic, Charleston Classic, Myrtle Beach Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off, Wooden Legacy, Orlando Invitational, Jimmy V Classic, and Diamond Head Classic, ESPN said.

Around three-dozens schools were set to participate in the exhibitions, reports said.

The Champions Classic -- which would have featured powerhouse programs like Michigan State, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky -- was considering alternative locations, as was the Jimmy V Classic, the network reported.

The doomed plan sought to recreate the bubble environment in which the NBA restarted its season with relatively few issues after a months-long suspension due to the coronavirus crisis.