It was only just a year ago when the NBA decided to shake up the postseason. The introduction of the play in tournament allowed for teams to extend their playoff chances while giving fans more post-season basketball. All signs pointed to it being a huge success. Now, the NBA is looking to dive even further into the waters of the soccer playstyle model. Whatever happens, the fans are sure to come out on top.
Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, has long looked at the model of European sports for inspiration. It’s no secret that many NBA teams tend to overlook the regular season or pass it off as not worth their time. Ratings usually hit their peak during the holiday games or the playoffs. In an effort to regain their public’s favor, Adam Silver is reentering talks to bring a mid-season tournament to the league.
The mid-season tournament would take place during the month of December, closer to Christmas. For the winning team, each player would get awarded a $1 million payout. While the details are still being worked on, there’s a lot more that needs to get done in order to get the NBA superstars (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Lebron James) to sign off. Something like this is crucial to have everyone on board. One of the biggest questions still remains, would these stars care about an extra $1 million?
Playing 82 games in a season takes a toll on the body of these players. Lebron James, someone who spends millions on R&R, wouldn’t be so keen on the idea of a tournament. Even with the proposed shortening of the NBA season to 78 games, the finical side of losing these games for a tournament mid-season isn’t something a lot of big market teams want to do.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, talks are supposed to heat up more in the coming weeks leading up to NBPA’s February winter meetings on All-Star weekend in Cleveland. While Adam Silver’s attempt to help usher in more excitement for the fans and the league, getting both owners and players to sign off on this could prove to be hard to do.
With the NBA looking to overhaul a long-term broadcast deal, having a fresh new idea like a mid-season tournament could work in their favor. The NFL saw higher numbers than the NBA Christmas Day specials. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the Fox/NFL Network broadcast of the Green Bay Packers vs Cleveland Browns delivered 28.59 million viewers, making it the most-watched Christmas Day broadcast this century.
As for the NBA, a primetime matchup between the L.A. Lakers and Brooklyn Nets averaged 5.75 million viewers (including an ESPN simulcast). The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns drew 5.19 million viewers in the late afternoon, up a small percentage from last year. Lastly, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics averaged 4.93 million, up slightly from 4.79 million last year.