The NBA has been crying out for a change for a long time now. There have been too many regular season games that do not count for anything, with most fans just waiting for the playoffs.
Too many teams make the playoffs and there are too many players that are on scheduled workloads in the league. All of this means that the NBA, all the top teams, and the fans are essentially in a holding pattern until the playoffs roll around.
As the NBA viewership declines, there has been talk about some changes being brought into the format to try and increase the fan engagement during the rest of the year as well. This is why it is so disappointing to hear that the NBA wants to try and play all its remaining games for this year and then the playoffs before starting next season.
Once in a lifetime opportunity
Sports around the world are taking this opportunity to try and reinvent themselves to be leaner and better geared for the future. Betting sites in India, which basically get all of their users from cricket, are reporting cancellation of new events and possible a dramatic shift in the format of cricket itself.
The Olympics have been deferred to next year and even that may be in doubt. We are not going to see any changes in the format of the Olympic sports themselves but we could see a reduction in the participating nations, the number of events being undertaken simultaneously and more.
The NBA cannot be the only association that remains unwilling to change in such a difficult situation. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity when no one is going to even question that changes that the NBA makes for this season.
The remaining part of the season can be trialled with the changes that were being planned for the next season. A shorter regular season, perhaps a pre-qualifying tournament with more teams getting a chance to make the playoffs, and reducing the number of teams that make the playoffs in the end.
$ 800 million lost revenue
Analysts are projecting a massive $ 800 million lost in revenue for the NBA. This includes the lost revenue at the arenas, lost merchandizing opportunities, and of course the TV revenue. There is no way that the NBA can just forget this sort of money, however, trying to play as many games as possible and making them meaningless is not the answer.
We could also the regular season start from Christmas next time around and that is something we can get behind. Let the start of the season coincide with the holidays and get off to a strong start. One bone of contention might be the reduced player salaries as they earn a percentage of the total NBA income.
It is time to take some tough decisions and ensure that the NBA is able to come out stronger from this setback.