The National Basketball Association says it wants to get the 2019/2020 season back underway and complete it in full. According to the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, the plan to finish regular-season games and the Play-Offs would start in June. This would allow the 2020/2021 season to tip off in Christmas and a bold plane could allow the NBA to recover some lost revenue through sports betting, sponsors, and TV viewers.
At the moment, the NBA and all related organizations are in hiatus. It’s not just the league that’s affected, but the numerous industries surrounding it. However, there are plans to let top betting sites and sponsors help the NBA recover through an ambitious Christmas tournament in Las Vegas.
Silver recently said there is currently no option to simply cancel the season, which has been hampered by the global pandemic. The Commissioner agrees that the season must re-start and says the NBA is losing revenue, including that generated by sports betting, fans, and sponsors.
“Our revenue, in essence, has dropped to zero,” Silver said during a call to reporters. “That’s having a huge financial impact on the team business and the arena business.”
Tipping off the remainder of the 2029/2020 regular season in June would allow the season and the Play-Offs to wrap in August. However, such a move would mean pushing back the 2020/2021 season, which may be delayed until Christmas.
The question is, how would next season fit in a full 82-game format and would the players agree to the league getting creative with the calendar?
Christmas Start for the 2020/2021 Campaign
According to sources close to the matter, the NBA competition committee is currently debating a Christmas start for the 2020/2021 regular season. It is worth noting the committee includes some general managers from NBA teams, so there is a chance teams will agree to this idea.
If this Christmas idea gathers steam, it could mean asking teams to play a full 82-game season in a shorter period. This could raise one of the biggest debates in the NBA… teams resting players. The league has often taken a dim view to teams resting healthy players but has been more accommodating in recent years.
From adjusting schedules and reducing back-to-back games, the league as sought to keep the best players on the court. Still, teams rest players and TV ratings sometimes suffer as a result.
Combine the issue of players being rested with the usual reduced interest at the start of an NBA campaign. Simply put, the first several rounds of the season are relatively meaningless in the grand scheme. That’s problematical for a season starting late and potentially trying to fit a full calendar of games into a short timeframe.
Perhaps the NBA will have to concede defeat and either reduce the number of games or be more open to teams resting players.
Alternative Revenue Spinning Tournament
One idea that has been tabled could allow the NBA to avoid the issues named above and regain some lost revenue in the process. Some members of the committee are in favor of creating a tournament to tip-off the season during the Christmas period.
For example, a tournament like the EuroLeague Final Four, except to feature all NBA teams. Held in Las Vegas, the tournament would allow the season to start with a bang, attract viewers and boost ratings, and would even generate income from sponsors and gambling.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing any plans for the 2020/2021 season will be convincing players. Negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association would focus on how to handle player salaries. Players’ earnings are directly tied to the NBA’s overall revenue. Considering the league predicts an $800 million revenue loss in the coming months, players may have to accept a reduction in their salaries at the start of next season.