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Rumor: NBA could delay 2020-21 season if fan attendance becomes foreseeable

NBA fans

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 10: Portland Trail Blazers fans wear Coronavirus (COVID-19) protective suits during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center on March 10, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Trail Blazers topped the Phoenix Suns, 121-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

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The NBA stated a plan to begin next season Dec. 1.

Which likely means playing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Which likely means forming another costly – in terms of both dollars to operate and burden on participants – bubble. Which means no fans in attendance. Which means reduced revenue.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

One rumor is that the 2020-21 season start will be pushed past December if there’s a date when it’s known fans can attend — and thus provide gate revenue for teams again.

On one hand, the NBA would like to have as many of its games as possible when fans can attend. It will also be more complicated to form a bubble for all 30 teams (rather than just 22) for a full season (rather than just eight seeding games and the playoffs).

But waiting delays opportunities to draw (even reduced) revenue. It creates complications with the annual calendar and Tokyo Olympics.

There’d also be no guarantee of when a breakthrough would allow fans to attend games. Though a vaccine or cure might appear around the corner as next season nears, nothing is certain. The NBA could wind up delaying for a perpetually just-elusive scientific advancement.

Unfortunately, coronavirus leaves no easy answers.

It definitely makes sense to wait, be open to all possibilities and hope new information makes the situation easier.