NBA Flexible Schedule And Format For 2021 Announced
The NBA aims to deliver a new season in a ‘new normal’ concept, so the higher-ups are in need of flexible and creative ideas following the initial plans announced several weeks ago. Entering the 2021 season, the league announced that it will release two schedules based around national TV games and use last season’s successful play-in games to increase revenue.
COVID-19 is still a factor to consider next season, so the NBA decided to release the final 2021 schedule in two phases. The first half will be released before training camps in December, while the second phase on or before March. The league will host in-market games starting December 22 with 72 games for each team. It follows the conclusion of its bubble postseason in Orlando, Florida.
Here’s the tentative schedule calendar for the 2020-21 season:
- Dec. 11to 19, 2020: Preseason games
- Dec. 22, 2020 to March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season
- March 5 to 10, 2021: All-Star break
- March 11 to May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season
- May 18 to 21, 2021: Play-In Tournament
- May 22 to July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs
The suggested schedule and format aims to decrease travel frequency, fight COVID-19, and increase revenue all at the same time. In summary, the NBA plans to take a look at the following factors
- If players become healthier with decreased travel frequency
- How teams will respond to playing in the same city on multiple games
- If season-ticket holders and fans will be in favor of seeing two teams twice in two days
This plan is obviously ambitious. Byron Spruell, the NBA president of league operations, even described it as ‘putting together a big puzzle’ in the middle of a pandemic since the usual six-to-eight-week process will be done in three weeks.
“We’re really focused on the viewership aspect…So, the first half and the second half gives us an opportunity to take a little pause, understand some of the analytics behind the games, and the adjustments we made. Then we will be able to create some matchups for the second half that we may have otherwise not been able to do if we created a complete schedule at one time,” said Spruell in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.
For what it’s worth, the NBA is currently keeping track of the progress and success of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. Vaccines can help lure fans back to arenas in time for the next season.