As the United States attempts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, professional sports leagues are not only planning for this season, but the 2020-21 campaign. The NBA, should it come back to complete the regular season and/or the playoffs, will likely have to push back the start of the next season, an idea that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has been “asking for for more than 10 years” during an interview Wednesday morning on Get Up.
“Honestly, it’s something that I’ve been asking for for more than 10 years. I’ve always thought that we should start on Christmas and go into the summer.”
Mark Cuban weighs in on how the NBA could alter its schedule. pic.twitter.com/0ooxYLpd2D
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 1, 2020
The league is considering plans such as a “quarantine league” to finish out the 2019-20 season, but that would likely not be possible until mid-summer at the earliest. Most agree NBA players would need a month or so to get back into playing shape, and on the back end, even a reduced version of the postseason would likely last a couple months. There is basically no way the 2020-21 season will start as planned in mid-October.
It’s easy to follow the line of thinking here that says the NBA (and a number of other leagues) could see their schedules permanently altered by this outbreak. Some will make hard decisions to get back on track with their typical seasonality, but many, including Cuban, have long called for the NBA dominating the holiday season with its premiere.
The league’s partners, Cuban said, have been the main barrier to a change in the calendar.
“The response has always been that our television partners don’t want that because there are fewer households using televisions during the summer months,” Cuban told Mike Greenberg of ESPN, “but everything’s different right now. If we continue to be quarantined, then people are at home, willing to watch the games. Nothing else is on, effectively.”
The NBA isn’t sure how to proceed for the next couple months, let alone the next year, but this crisis has shown nothing if not the value of being proactive.