There has been a lot of chatter regarding the NBA’s length of games and schedule recently. With the recent news that the league is going to try out a 44 minute game, the NBA world has filled up with new ideas to shorten, or as some think, improve the quality of basketball.
Let’s first look at the many, and I do mean many, proposals set forth by everyone involved in the sport.
The league’s announcement of the experimental 44 minute game has to lead this off. Previously, each team played 3,936 minutes per regular season (48 minutes x 82 games). By removing 4 minutes per game, the league will save the player’s wear and tear a total of 328 minutes, or 6.8 games (48 min/game) to 7.5 games (44 min/game). This option will keep the television contractors happy as they still receive 82 game seasons, the owners still get to sell tickets to 82 games and the players essentially play 7 less games a season. There is even some talk of making the games only 40 minutes. (http://grantland.com/features/the-case-40-minute-nba-game/) Zach Lowe of Grantland, as usual, does a great job looking at all angles of the shorten games so I won’t bore you with repetitive points.
Without a doubt the most logical solution to the NBA’s plan to save player’s miles, keep fans interested with a shorter game, and still cash in on all revenue opportunities. I understand the league’s premise to prevent injuries because having your stars in games will draw more fans to pay attention and watch.
The other measures to improve the quality of the product mostly include shortening the season.
Although finding ways to compensate for this loss of revenue have been few and far between, many believe the league needs to shorten the amount of games played in order to increase viewership. We have heard everything from 72, 70, 68, 65, 62, 60, 58, 55, and 50 for amount of games per a season. Amin Elhassan of ESPN had a great suggestion, that if you favor shortening the season, then you must agree with a minimum of at least 58 games. This method will allow each team to play a home/away series with every team in the league.
However, something that is missed during this whole discussion is making up for the loss revenue by playing less. Everyone has blanket statements such as, “The TV contract is most of the money” and “if it’s for the growth of the game, owners have to think long term”. All be it true, they still need to account for cash flow and daily business operations. No one buys a business that operates in the negative in order to sell it one day for a large profit, that’s not how investments work. Continue reading