Report: NBA projecting in-season tournament to add extra $1B in revenue

David Akerman
5 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s new in-season tournament could arrive as soon as next season, and it seems like the league is expecting it add a good chuck of revenue.

NBA insider Jake Fischer offered an interesting nugget during an episode of a Yahoo! Sports podcast.

“This is a little scoop, apparently Adam Silver said at the GM meeting, which I believe was Tuesday or Wednesday here in Chicago, that the league is projecting the in-season tournament will generate an extra $1 billion for the league,” said Fischer.

The in-season tournament is something new for the league, and the hope is that fans will be excited by the addition of the tournament.

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic recently offered some details regarding the planned format of the tournament.

“A group stage will play out during the first two months of the regular season, according to sources briefed on its details who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely, and two days of each week will be used only for those games that account for the group stage,” wrote Vorkunov. “Teams in each conference will be split into three groups of five. The three groups will be determined by a random drawing, with each team being put into one of five pots per conference and one team from each pot in each group. The teams with the best record in the previous regular season will go into the first pot, then the teams with the next three best records will go into the second pot, and so on. Each team will play the other teams in its group once.”

According to Vorkunov, the group stage games will count for teams’ regular season and tournament records. Advancing to the knockout round will be the six teams with the best records in each group. Also advancing will be a wild-card team from each conference that finished second in its group.

The knockout rounds will reportedly be single elimination and also count toward regular season records. The semifinals and final will be played at a neutral site, with Las Vegas reportedly “prominent” in the discussion, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Undoubtedly, the tournament has potential to make the league tons of money. It’ll be interesting to see how seriously stars and teams across the league take the tournament.

European soccer teams often use domestic tournaments as a way to get some younger players some action. Veteran reserves who don’t see the field that much during league play are also played a good amount in those tournaments.

The in-season tournament could be a way for a smaller team in the NBA to win a trophy. There are plenty of teams that have yet to win an NBA title.

One of those teams, the Denver Nuggets, is still alive in the 2023 playoffs, and things are going pretty well for it right now. It recently took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and is now only two wins away from its first trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history.

Plenty of fans are dubious about the tournament, and the league will have to find ways to drum up some more interest as time goes on.

Silver said that players will wear different uniforms and courts might be different.

Per Vorkunov, some NBA players have come up with pretty interesting ways to generate fan interest. Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell apparently suggested adding G League teams to the tournament. New Orleans Pelicans veteran Josh Richardson supposedly wants to see some European teams added.

Adding those types of teams would offer an intriguing wrinkle to the tournament and allow NBA teams to go up against squads they wouldn’t normally face.

Only time will tell how much interest the tournament ends up generating, but it seems as though exciting times are near for the NBA.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate who has experience in writing, editing and video production. He has been following the NBA and NFL for as long as he can remember.