The NBA season will be BACK back very soon — after having been gone for not long at all.
Despite the fact that the last NBA game was played on Oct. 11, NBA players voted on Friday to approve the league’s plan to start the 2020-2021 season on Dec. 22. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 71 days between the end of last season and the start of the upcoming season in the shortest in history among the four major professional sports leagues.
The decision to start the league on said date is an attempt to increase revenue, taking advantage of the Christmas Day games and holiday week. According to USA Today, the holiday-week start could be worth about $500 million in TV revenue, among other key fiscal sources.
The season will also be shorted to only 72 games, slated to finish before the potential start of the summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Olympics are currently scheduled begin on July 23.
For those, like me, who were hopeful for a permanent December/Christmas start to the NBA season, those dreams could possibly be dashed again. Like every other season, the Finals will end in the middle of summer, putting the league close to its regular schedule. But ending in late July would also be over a month-and-a-half beyond that of the typical season end, which could possibly mean a mid-November or later start and yet another shorted season. Right now, it seems like a 2021 December start is unlikely, but it isn’t completely out of the question.
Another thing to consider is the fact that, for years, there have been murmurs from players and media alike to decrease the regular season to only 70 games, pointing to the complaints of the regular season and playoffs being really drawn out. For all we know, this could be a trial run for a potential permanent change to the league’s schedule. On the other hand, the league’s decision to shorten the season to possibly get back to the late October start in 2021 would mean that any consideration to permanent schedule changes are out.
In the most NBA fashion, we might have to accept the fact that absolutely NOTHING we want to see will come out of the drastic changes to the upcoming season. The decision to come back after only a little over two months and condensing the season is just the NBA trying to get back to what we’re all familiar with. But, hey, at least there will be basketball.
Training camps are believed to be open in early December.