It is no secret that COVID-19 is escalating in the United States and BIG3 cannot simply bury its head in the sand, merely hoping for it to go away. Since starting the league, BIG3 leaders have often been faced with unexpected obstacles and have solved them by turning to our core values to generate solutions in innovative, pro-active ways. Our values demand we prioritize the health, welfare, and safety of our growing community of players, coaches, and fans over short-term self-serving financial goals. At the same time, we also need to balance preservation of the league, continue to build on its momentum, and bring joy and happiness as well as world class professional competition to the greatest number of our fans. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has led us to the conclusion that to best balance these core objectives we will disappoint a minority of our fans but it will allow us to create a unique and special viewing experience for the vast majority of our millions of fans watching on TV and online from a single safe and intimate location in Los Angeles.
The BIG3 previously announced games will be aired on CBS every Saturday for 10 weeks this summer between June 20 and August 29 (with only July 4 off) and that will not change. Other games on these Saturdays will also appear on additional platforms. Starting July 11 through August 15th, games will be played at an intimate, safe, controlled non-arena venue in Los Angeles each Saturday. As co-founder and co-CEO Ice Cube states, “Every year we faced a challenge and we came out on top with a better, more exciting league. This year will be no different!”
The league hopes the three dates already on sale – June 20 (Memphis), June 27 (New York), and August 22 playoffs (Portland) – will continue as planned with the Los Angeles venue serving as a contingency plan if changing circumstances necessitate they be moved as well. These three dates have already been marketed and advertised with tickets already sold through our presale process. By making a decision today, we are able to build out a Los Angeles state of the art location suitable for world class broadcasts. It is our sincere hope both for ourselves and the health of the global public at large that it turns out we are being overly cautious and that these three dates plus a final on August 29 in a different city can be played in front of filled arenas.
The BIG3’s unique structure simply does not afford it the luxury older leagues have to take a wait-and see approach and make adjustments closer to scheduled events. Unlike MLB, NBA, NHL or MLS, BIG3 does not own any of their venues, does not have a home venue presold season ticket base, and our format requires extensive marketing and promoting of each venue at great expense combined with operational and travel costs. In addition, even if we determined a location was safe, we do not control the final decision as it is made at the local, state, and federal levels leaving us at the mercy of a myriad of municipalities that all have different standards. Being proactive allows the 2020 season to be preserved, continues the momentum built over the last four years, and assure all players, coaches, and fans of their safety. We will work collaboratively with local and federal health officials.
“We regret being forced to not play games in multiple cities we already announced, but we want fans to know we intend on visiting those cities next year. If things go right, we will be in five cities instead of 10 this year,” said BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz. “No matter what, we will be able to play our season and bring the great competition of BIG3 to the vast majority of our millions of fans who watch on TV and online through our broadcast partners. This situation is bigger than sports and we all hope the spreading of Coronavirus ends soon for the well-being of the entire global community.”
Make no mistake, this season will be our best season yet. The players and coaches will be more competitive than ever and with new rule changes the games will be more intense than ever. We will make great use of our new space in Los Angeles with special unique and immersive features throughout the broadcast.
We also appreciate the support our sponsors, players and staff have shown us throughout this process. YOUNG3 clinics will continue in each host city and will rotate throughout various neighborhoods in Los Angeles when games are at the Los Angeles venue.
Additional information on the 2020 BIG3 season can be found here.