In a time when people have On Demand access to the entertainment of their choice in their pocket, the NBA is trying to keep up and remain relevant by making adjustments to the regular season to stir up more interest in professional basketball. It was reported that a proposal was sent from the NBA to all of the teams suggesting a regular season that consisted of 78 games, a tournament within the season, and modifications to the playoff seeding.
Some of the highlights within the proposal include a $1 million dollar payout for the in-season tournament winning players, and a tournament would determine the bottom two seeds for the playoffs. These changes would theoretically go into effect during the 2021-22 season and if successful, would continue in the seasons beyond that.
Discussions amongst the board of governors of the league will happen in April.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been interested in including an in-season tournament for a few years, somewhat inspired by how soccer seasons abroad are set up.
“It would need to be negotiated with the Players’ Association,” Silver explained. “I’ve had very general discussions with [union executive director] Michele Roberts about the notion that these are the kinds of things we’re looking at. I think she, of course, is supportive of looking at any ideas we have to build the business over time.”
Sixty percent of fans that were polled by a third-party source desired a “shorter regular season.” 68% of the fans from that same study expressed interest in an “in-season tournament.” Finally, 75% of the fans wanted the tournament to decide the playoff seeding even though it may mean two teams from the same conference could potentially face off against each other.
NBA teams were told in this proposal that “fans feel it would make the final two rounds more desirable to watch.”