Definition of Bubble Format

With the recent resolution of the 2020 NBA season, many are praising the league for succeeding with their "Bubble League" format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With infections popping up in the MLB, MLS and NFL, many are calling for similar formats to be implemented in those sports as well. But what exactly is this Bubble Format?

Basically, it was an attempt by the NBA to get all of the players, coaches and staff of every team into one area in Orlando, Florida and keep them there. This would limit exposure to the outside of the bubble and limit the chances of COVID infections.

It was not mandatory for teams or players to come to the bubble, while only those who were eliminated from the competition could leave the bubble. Otherwise, the teams who were progressing through the tourney stayed from July until the resolution on October 12th.

The MLS had a similar format when they resumed, all playing in the "MLS Is Back" Tournament earlier in the year. However, since then they have played in regular style- traveling away and around the country. The NFL has not adopted any sort of Bubble Format, despite the recommendations of US COVID expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The MLB has set up plans for a Bubble format for the playoff games, after a regular season plagued by teams having to cancel games due to COVID infections. The NFL has considered implementing such a format, but no formal plans have been announced.

It seems strange that various sports are hesitant to adopt such a format after the success that the NBA had. Yet, without any higher force (such as the government) telling the various leagues what to do, they are free to play as they want.