The Vote is In: NBPA Votes On Season Start Date

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Jim McIsaac

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

November 5, 2020, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) voted on a start date for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season. The official return date for the NBA season was set for December 22nd. The National Basketball Players Association also agreed on a 72-game schedule. Additional details remain to be negotiated, but the NBPA remains confident that both parties can reach an agreement on these remaining issues pertaining to the upcoming season. Many other start dates were rumored to be possible, but potential financial losses urged players to lean toward the December 22nd date. 

Financial loss for the NBA and the players is likely the main reasoning for their decision – the league would have lost hundreds of millions of dollars just in that one-month window. The NBA has remained optimistic about the possibility of having fans attend games, much like we have seen so far around the U.S. with the likes of the NFL and College Football.

Fans in attendance would not only help the league financially but also bring the energizing atmosphere so many players missed with the NBA bubble. But with the uncertainty around that prospect, the league has continued to prioritize television revenue. 

Another variable is the off-season changes the NBA may face. This upcoming off-season will be impacted most by the financial losses of the NBA over the course of the year as well as the teams’ own losses. Even with their salary caps being raised – meaning more money to spend on free agents to sign – in reality, the financial loss of teams and the luxury tax they have to pay if they surpass the league’s salary cap results in less money to sign or keep players on the team. This forces some teams into trades so they don’t lose the players to free agency for nothing. With the NBA returning on December 22nd, they desperately want to end their season in mid-July to get back on their traditional October to June schedule for the 2021-22 season.