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Spain is next to start playing professional basketball amid the coronavirus pandemic using a “bubble” format similar to the one planned by the NBA. Spain’s main league, considered one of the world’s best outside of the NBA, will resume Wednesday with the launch of a 12-team tournament playing in a single venue in the eastern city of Valencia. There will be 33 matches played without fans in a two-week span. Germany resumed its league two weeks ago using a similar enclosed format in Munich, and the NBA is set to follow suit in late July with 22 teams playing at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.
“Two months ago, it seemed crazy just to think about playing again,” Spanish league president Antonio Martín said. “Many people put in a lot of work and a lot of effort to make this happen. If it hadn’t been for this joint effort, nothing would have been possible. This is already a victory that deserves celebration.” There will be tight health safety measures in place in Valencia with players and team members being constantly monitored. The nearly 600 people involved are assigned to one of four hotels. The training facilities and hotels are located within about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) of each other, with everyone confined to that area.
“We are in this bubble to avoid the risk of infections,” Real Madrid point guard Sergio Llull said. “It’s strange, and mentally it requires a big effort, but we’re going to do it so that everything goes well and people can enjoy basketball again from their homes.” The Spanish basketball league said the games in this final tournament will be broadcast in 125 countries, including the United States.