Roberts Skeptical 2020/21 Season Will Start In December

The NBA reportedly informed its Board of Governors this week that the 2020/21 season won’t begin any earlier than Christmas Day. While starting next season on December 25 – typically one of the biggest days on the NBA’s calendar – might seem ideal, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts isn’t sure it will be possible.

“I do think we’ll have a season, but I don’t think it will begin in December,” Roberts told David Gelles of The New York Times.

There’s reportedly a consensus hope among the NBA league office and team owners that the ’20/21 season can tip off in late-December or at some point in January. However, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweeted on Thursday that he wouldn’t be surprised if the season doesn’t begin until February or even March. The league and the players’ union will both have to sign off on a revamped schedule.

One of the NBA’s top priorities for next season is getting fans back into arenas, since a significant chunk of the league’s revenues are tied to ticket sales and in-arena purchases. Roberts is hopeful that can happen, but acknowledged to Gelles that even if there are advances in coronavirus testing and treatment in the coming months, the idea of filling arenas next season is probably unrealistic.

“There will be a revenue drop,” Roberts said. “I do see a possibility of there being some reopening of some arenas. But if we’re lucky we will see 25 percent of the revenue that ordinarily comes through gate receipts, etc. That’s optimistic. Hopefully we can soften the blow, but I don’t see us packing arenas.”

Although Roberts is optimistic that some arenas will be able to accommodate fans – even if it happens later in the season and with a significantly reduced capacity – she suggested that some “bubble-like environment” may be necessary to start the season, given the state of the coronavirus pandemic and how successful the Walt Disney World bubble has been this summer.

“I suspect that we will have a hybrid environment, maybe with division bubbles that last for a certain number of months, and then we stop,” Roberts told Gelles. “But the concept of putting our players in a bubble for an entire season is unrealistic.”

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8 thoughts on “Roberts Skeptical 2020/21 Season Will Start In December

  1. GoLandCrabs

    Hybrid bubbles really…. MLB and NFL (with some fans) are playing in home stadiums. NBA is playing this way too scared.

    • Chucktoad1

      MLB has been a joke. So many players have opted out they’ve had to resort to pitchers who wouldn’t make the teams AA rotation to be Major League starters. There’s been so many games postponed because of failed tests. There’s a sentiment to just scrap it all. If it weren’t obligations for TV contracts they’d probably scrap the season.
      The NFL has only gotten 1 game off so far. We will see.

      • GoLandCrabs

        MLB hasn’t had an issue since they made strict protocols. They were never close to scraping the season.

        • MoneyBallJustWorks

          Just because a league wasn’t scrapping the season doesn’t mean they did it properly. Ask multiple teams if they’d rather not play multiple double headers of 10 games in 7 days.

          MLB players just cried hard enough and the league blinked. 0 cases in NHL and NBA means they did it right.

        • Chucktoad1

          They came close to scrapping it before it even started. Rob Manfred had to force a schedule

      • x%sure

        That first NFL game looked awkward to me… seemed unreal. Sure fans are missing; but all the contact looked illegal or something when it never looked odd before. Usually I’m annoyed at all the dump-off passes quarterbacks like to settle for.
        I hope all the BLM stuff wraps up; it’s just covid-based nerves. I’m not going to ‘love’ a race/color of people.

  2. x%sure

    Somebody has to be the bad guy, tell the owners No, they cannot have their full revenue stream as soon as they want it.
    Silver has to represent owners to some extant. Fans too!

    Same external conditions as is current will continue, just as has been consistently forecast. Imperfect fixes will become available in spring, earliest, probably summer. Until then, I suspect rich players will expect bubbles, and the NBA will not go forward without them, and can’t afford even them without TV ratings boosted from declaring a champion at the end.

    Players with injury histories from usage should be more valuable since there will be less usage needed. Good news for Brogdon, CP3, Durant & Irving, Kemba, Otto, Kawhi, Barton, Porzingus, Zion, Curry, ADavis. Lebron will have another big year but may as well schedule a movie for winter.

  3. El Don

    Boy is it only me, but I can’t stand any time I see Roberts name mentioned… she is just the queen of doom & gloom! Never any joy, always pessimism & delaying season, that is all she says all the time, SMH!

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