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Report: Orlando to host eight ESPN-owned preseason college basketball holiday tournaments

Even when the NBA leaves, Orlando will remain the basketball capital of the Covid-19 world.

Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyrese Maxey and forward Nick Richards celebrate as they defeated the Florida Gators during the second half at Exactech Arena. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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It looks like Disney’s Wide World of Sports will be rolling one basketball bubble into another as eight events owned by ESPN will be hosted at the complex as part of the 2020-21 college basketball season, according to Jon Rothstein of College Hoops Today.

Following the success of the NBA Bubble, Orlando will host eight early season events in college basketball during the first few weeks of the regular season, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

In addition to the Champions Classic, the Jimmy V Classic, Preseason NIT, Orlando Invitational, Myrtle Beach Invitational, Charleston Classic, Wooden Legacy, and Diamond Head Classic will all be played in Orlando.

No fans are currently expected to be in attendance for any of the events, according to a source.

These tournaments are all owned and operated by ESPN Events, which organizes games and logistics for multiple collegiate events throughout the year that also gives programming to the Worldwide Leader in Sports. They own several of your favorite bowl games, and have staff that often work full-time in cities to make each event possible.

For ESPN they’re a win-win as they provide both tv content as well as revenue from sponsorships and packages bought by fans of teams. And moving all of them to Disney property makes the most sense in the current environment. And as we’ve seen with the success of the NBA Bubble, it’s also a way to keep everyone as safe as possible.

No announcement yet on how the protocols for virus testing will work, but they will have learned plenty on how to do this safely already.