Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday he expects the NBA will resume play before fans are allowed back in arenas due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We have to be very cautious, particularly as we try to come back,” Cuban said on CNBC’s “Markets in Turmoil” special. “I think at first though we’ll play a lot of games without fans and then figure it out as some of the available medicines … become available, we’ll go from there.”
Cuban also said he believed it would be “feasible” to take the temperature of every fan who tried to enter a venue. A fever, along with a cough and shortness of breath, are among the most common symptoms of COVID-19.
But Cuban stressed the importance of ensuring safety of players, workers and spectators before large gatherings begin to take place again. He also on Wednesday cautioned business leaders from sending employees back to work too soon.
Even so, Cuban argued the return of sports would be good for the U.S., where daily life has been upended in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“People need something to rally around right now. People need sports,” the billionaire entrepreneur said. “We need something to cheer for, something to get excited about and there’s nothing better than our sports teams to do it.”
Cuban said he was just “guessing,” but believed “the NBA is going to try to come back as early as we can without spectators, just on TV and streaming, and just give people something to celebrate.”
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, and the rest of the sports world eventually followed in its footsteps.
All of the major U.S. sports leagues are on pause, the NCAA Tournament was canceled, and on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee postponed the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.