Don’t Expect a Shorter NBA Schedule in the Future

by April 20, 2012
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The NBA lockout resulted in this season getting cut down to a hectic 66 games, but that will not be the norm going forward. From the AP: “Though the league says ratings are up and attendance will be about the same as last season, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver sees no future for a 66-game schedule. ‘If you cut the season shorter, we cut our revenues significantly as well. Players would make less, so no, and I think it’s not optimal to play a condensed season in this fashion,’ he said Thursday. ‘I think both we and the players’ union recognized that going in, but it was a compromise on both our parts to maximize the amount of salary players would get this season and to have as authentic a season as possible, sufficient number of games for competitive reasons.’ The normal 82-game season wasn’t possible when owners and players couldn’t agree to a new collective bargaining agreement until Thanksgiving weekend. The sides agreed to fit in 66 games starting on Christmas, each team playing about two extra games a month. The result has been frequent compelling matchups and tight playoff races in both conferences with a week left in what Commissioner David Stern called a ‘barnburner of a season’. And though the compressed schedule has been taxing on players’ bodies, Stern said injuries are about at the same rate as a normal season. NBA President Joel Litvin said there were actually fewer injuries to top players – 35 this season for players who were All-Stars in the previous two years, down from 43 last season. ‘I think it’s turned out OK,’ Silver said, ‘but again, we prefer the 82-game season to the 66-game season.’ Stern said the ‘early returns are excellent’ from the new labor deal. The league expects to lose a little money this season but predicts a profit in 2012-13 after saying it lost hundreds of millions annually every year of the old deal that was ratified in 2005.”