NBA may trim games amid other reforms

LOS ANGELES • When the National Basketball Association (NBA) celebrates its 75th anniversary in the 2021-22 season, it might do so by giving its players - and fans - a shorter regular season as part of a restructured calendar.

According to an ESPN report last Wednesday, it has started exploring options that include a possible midseason tournament, a postseason play-in event and an abbreviated regular-season schedule.

ESPN said that an advisory committee with about a dozen top team executives from both basketball and business operations took part in a June 17 conference call to discuss with the league office possible alternatives to the traditional schedule for 2021-22.

The "wide-ranging brainstorming session" was very exploratory and proposed reforms would be adopted as a pilot programme, said the report.

A new midseason cup-style tournament would likely require a shorter regular season, which could greatly affect revenue for teams that rely both on game attendance and commitment to local broadcast partners.

Discussions included reducing the regular-season games from 82 to as few as 58, which would allow each team to host each of the 29 other teams, but a smaller reduction is possible, with ESPN reporting that few officials favour a major reduction in the number of games.

The NBA would need cooperation from several parties, including the players' union, ownership groups, national and local broadcast partners and sponsors, to agree to the changes.

While able to make recommendations to the NBA's board of governors, the advisory committee has no official governing authority.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2019, with the headline 'NBA may trim games amid other reforms'. Print Edition | Subscribe