The NBA, which was the first pro league to suspend play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, made $1.5 billion less than it projected last season due to the pandemic and other factors, according to an Associated Press report.
The league shut down March 11, then returned to finish a shortened season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
That restricted access, all-inclusive bubble, which was run at an estimated cost of $200 million, was one of the factors that hit the NBA’s bottom line.
Other factors were the initial shutdown, the loss of 171 regular-season games, the lack of attendance for games in the bubble and China’s decision to not show games after an October tweet by former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong.
The league’s Board of Governors is currently meeting to discuss the start date for the 2020-21 season, potential fan attendance and possibly a shortened schedule, with a push to start the 2020-21 NBA season by Christmas apparently gaining momentum.
The Athletic reported Friday that the NBA is targeting a Dec. 22 start date and a 72-game regular season that would finish before the start of the 2021 Summer Olympics, which are set to begin on July 23 in Tokyo.