Sports | November 2, 2020 10:16 am

NBA Owners Fear Starting Season Post-Christmas May Lose $1 Billion in Revenue

The NBA Finals just finished last month with the Lakers topping the Heat

NBA Owners Fear Starting Season Post-Christmas May Lose $1 Billion in Revenue
The NBA store in New York City.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Even though the NBA Finals just finished last month with the Lakers topping the Heat, the league’s owners are pushing to start the season before Christmas in order to avoid massive potential revenue losses, ESPN reports.

The NBA Board of Governors and the Players Association are still negotiating about restructuring the collective bargaining agreement, which includes next season’s schedule and start date, and have extended the deadline to reach an agreement to November 6.

The league’s players would reportedly prefer to wait until mid-January to start the season, which will likely be played in empty arenas with no fans, but NBA owners fear waiting that long could potentially cost $500 million to $1 billion in revenue losses.

“A mid-January start around Martin Luther King Day would take the league’s season past the July Summer Olympics and into the summer months, when the league fears television ratings would plummet,” writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “The NBA is estimating significant financial turmoil if the league has to compete with the Summer Olympics for television ratings in July and then be forced to adjust the NBA calendar for the 2021-22 season.”

Owners are pushing to start the season before Christmas on December 22 and have training camps open up on December 1. In that scenario, the league would hope to play a 72-game slate with reduced cross-country travel, according to The New York Post.

Usually held over the summer, the NBA draft will take place later this month on November 18 and free agency will open up a few days later.

That timeline won’t leave too much runway before the proposed start of training camp in December but, with $1 billion potentially on the line for both sides due to the 50-50 revenue split between the league and players, it would not be a surprise to see the two sides come together on a deal.

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