Adam Silver is considering adding a mid-season tournament to the NBA schedule as well as shortening games and reducing the number of games played each season.
The NBA commissioner is open to trimming the traditional 82-game regular season and 48-minute format of games to help keep players healthy. To compensate for this potential reduced schedule, he is mulling adding a new tournament to maintain revenues and keep fans interested.
“I think we always have to step back and remind ourselves that at the end of the day this is about the fan, especially as the media landscape is changing and the bundle of pay television is changing, and we may move into a world where we have to win that support of the viewer every night,” Silver said.
“That’s why I’m particularly interested in looking at different kinds of formats – at mid-season tournaments, for example, play-in tournaments – because even accepting that players have so many miles on their bodies, there may be better ways to present it. Assuming guys are going to play 82 games, maybe there should be a certain number of games in the regular season and then there should be two tournaments throughout the season.”
Silver admitted it would take time to convince fans and players that a mid-season tournament would be a positive step forward. “I know for most of the American viewers, that’s a very foreign concept because we’re not used to having multiple goals throughout the season,” Silver said.
“But as I said, it’s very commonplace in international soccer. It would take a while to develop those new traditions because I think initially the reaction may be, ‘who cares who wins the mid-season tournament; it’s all about the Larry O’Brien Trophy?’. So we need to take a long-term perspective on these things.”
Silver made the comments at a news conference following the league’s annual end-of-season meeting of its Board of Governors.