This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Basketball Association missed revenue projections by a whopping $1.5 billion, The Associated Press reported.
The losses were due to the season’s temporary shutdown — during which 171 regular-season games were canceled — and the decision to host games in a bubble at Disney World without fans. According to the AP, operating in the bubble cost the league $200 million.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in May that 40% of the league’s revenue comes from game nights in team arenas across states.
According to an unnamed source, the league’s board of governors are aiming to start the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22. The shortened season would include 70 to 72 games and would end in June, when the NBA Finals normally finish.
The timeline would allow the 2021-2022 NBA season to begin in October and proceed as usual.
After delays due to COVID-19 this season, the Finals ended on Oct. 11 when the Los Angeles Lakers beat out the Miami Heat.
If the next season begins in December, training camps would require players to start conditioning next month. The Heat and the Lakers would get about seven weeks off between the end of the finals and the beginning of training — a stark difference from the normal three-and-a-half month break.
Officials are still in talks regarding whether fans will be able to return to games in person next year.