The word is that the NBA playoffs could end up being a 16-team, single-site tournament.
And, believe it or not, Atlantic City is being discussed as a potential site.
A New York Post article mentions Jersey Shore, along with several other cities, including Las Vegas and Orlando.
Sound crazy? Do we even know what it means in today’s world?
Since there aren’t any professional sports taking place right now, this is the perfect time to talk about it.
Atlantic City still waiting on the NBA
With Atlantic City casinos currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming the NBA would do wonders for Jersey Shore.
The current shutdown is the longest in AC history, and it’s expected to continue for several more weeks. Of course, that means there will no NBA in Atlantic City, or anywhere else for that matter until the country opens back up.
The league has yet to share an official statement regarding how and when NBA games will return.
Will teams finish the regular season? If so, how many more games will be played?
What will the exact playoff format be?
Will fans be allowed to attend the games?
The NBA and the other professional sports leagues have never faced these questions before.
NBA playoffs in Atlantic City, Las Vegas or Orlando?
On paper, Atlantic City seems like the most unlikely destination for an NBA postseason tournament.
The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas is home to the NBA Summer League and UNLV basketball games. Plus, the 2007 All-Star Game was played there.
The Amway Center in Central Florida is home to the Orlando Magic. That would give home-court advantage to a franchise holding down the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed. That doesn’t seem fair.
AC, on the other hand, is neutral turf.
Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall has hosted several basketball events. This includes last month’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. It was abruptly cut short when the NCAA decided to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
The Atlantic 10 previously held its postseason tournament in AC before moving it to Brooklyn.
Boardwalk Hall can hold more than 14,000 fans.
In terms of hotel rooms, the Las Vegas Strip has more room inventory. In AC, the nine casino-hotels alone could provide more than 15,000 rooms for teams, league executives and fans.
NBA playoff betting handle would be huge
Think about the potential boost an NBA event of this magnitude could do for the NJ sports betting industry.
As long as the social distancing rules are loosened, the eight retail sportsbooks would be filled to capacity. Even if bettors wager using one of the 17 mobile apps, those who can’t get tickets at the arena will be looking for a gathering place to watch and bet on the NBA games.
Would it reach Super Bowl betting levels? More than $54 million was wagered on February’s Big Game.
Unlike college basketball tournaments, NBA betting on NJ-based events is permitted. And with this being a multi-day event, the Garden State could potentially crush previous records.
This is not an April Fools’ joke
Yes, today is April Fools’ Day.
As crazy as the NBA playoffs taking place in Atlantic City sounds, no disclaimer is needed.
The leagues are considering all options at this point.
Just talking about this gives us hope that the NBA will resume sometime soon.