NBA could move 2020/21 start date up because Disney “badly wants” games on Christmas Day

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is reportedly keen on starting next season on December 22 following suggestions the 2020/21 campaign could begin sometime in January or February.

The latest proposed date came as a surprise to many and, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (H/T Uproxx.com), ESPN’s desire to air games on Christmas Day, as they would traditionally, could be why the league is looking to move the date up.

“Disney, which owns ESPN and has been described by Silver as the league’s biggest partner, badly wants to continue that Christmas tradition and have five games to televise on either ABC or ESPN. Turner, the N.B.A.’s other primary broadcast partner, would get its traditional opening night doubleheader on a Tuesday if the union agrees to the Dec. 22 proposal. The league, for its part, has informed the union that it projects a difference of $500 million in revenue if it can start the season in December rather than mid-January.”

$500 billion is a figure which would represent an incentive to do just about anything. It would be hard to imagine the NBA letting that go but there are a lot of things which need working out, more importantly: player and fan safety.

Another trip to the bubble already seems like it’s out of the question for several stars. Anthony Davis doesn’t want to see Disney World for another two years after being among the last set of persons to leave.