- Canceling the NBA season could cost the league $1 billion, according to Sports Illustrated.
- There is "resounding ownership support" in the NBA to find a way to finish the 2019-20 season, even if it means playing the games through the summer and into September.
- Playing the season through the summer could lead the league to changing the overall season calendar, with games beginning in December and playing into the summer.
- The idea reportedly already has support within the NBA.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
The NBA season has been suspended for just over two weeks due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The league is facing great uncertainty over when the season could resume, if at all. Reports have indicated that the league was bracing for a return in mid-June, with games potentially taking place in July. However, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said he would take the "under" on a June 1 return.
According to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, there is "resounding ownership support for finding a way to resume the season," even if it means playing through July and August and into September, potentially affecting the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
Mannix wrote that according to some estimates, failing to finish the season could cost the league as much as $1 billion.
The loss would come after the league has lost massive amounts of revenue due to their early-season fallout with China over Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey's pro-Hong Kong tweet. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had previously said the loss of business in China could cost the NBA "hundreds of millions" of dollars — it's unclear if there are more specific figures at this time.
It also comes as the NBA has experienced a worrisome drop in TV ratings. The NBA has already warned teams about a future drop in the salary cap, a number calculated in part by revenue.
Resuming the season would lower the projected losses, helping both owners and players, while bringing back at least some in-arena employees (though it's unclear if games would be played in front of fans).
While speaking to Insider, an NBA GM expressed a belief that resuming the season will be important to Silver. Just as the NBA led the sports world in suspending its season due to the coronavirus, this GM thinks the NBA will want to lead the way in the re-opening of sports.
Playing through the summer would "also provide the league with valuable data on the viability of a summer schedule," Mannix wrote.
Doing so, however, could mean drastically reconfiguring the season.
The idea of changing the NBA's calendar has support. ESPN reported in early March that Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin argued at MIT's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that the league should change its schedule, moving the beginning of the season from late October to mid-December and finishing in August, with free agency in September. Koonin argued that doing so would move the NBA's biggest moments out of competition with the NFL and college football.
According to Mannix, Evan Wasch, the NBA's senior vice president of strategy and analytics, said the league would have "no issue" with reconsidering the schedule.
As Mannix notes, summer has typically been a low point for TV ratings. However, with viewing habits changing, that may no longer be the case. Cuban has been a proponent of reconsidering playing games in the summer because of the change in TV-watching habits.
Changing the entire NBA calendar, of course, moves other events around. One significant hurdle could be the draft, which currently takes place in June. The current timing allows college prospects to test the waters of the draft and decide whether to go pro or return to school. If the draft is held in August or later, it could complicate the timing of the end of the college basketball season and prospects' decisions to enter the draft. This figures to be a problem this season if the NBA is able to resume the season in June.
Silver has also been pushing the idea of implementing a mid-season tournament, though the league decided to hold off on a vote this season. It's unclear how the midseason tournament could be affected by a change to the entire league schedule.
Mannix wrote that wholesale changes won't happen immediately. But if the NBA resumes the season and plays it out through the summer, it could push back the start of the 2020-21 NBA season, giving the league a test run at a different schedule.
Source: Read Full Article