Report: 2020-2021 NBA Season Not Expected to Take Place in Front of Fans
It'll be a while before fans are allowed to attend NBA games again.
Initially reported, by The Athletic's Shams Charania, on a call that took place on Friday, the National Basketball Players Association's (NBPA) leadership said they believe no fans will be allowed to attend games for the duration of the 2020-2021.
Sports Illustrated can also confirm that Silver told NBA teams during Zoom conferences about the potential of having no fans in the 2021 season.
Now, this isn't exactly a surprise. Coronavirus cases are still being confirmed at a steady rate in the United States, and the NBA has to prioritize the safety of fans, players and team personnel.
It also isn't a new idea — back in May, Adam Silver reportedly told teams to prepare not to have fans in attendance for the following season. That said, this seems to be a step-up from Silver's declaration.
In that scenario, the NBA could lose up to 40 percent of its revenue for the season — a considerable blow, even if this was to be expected.
There's always the chance that things change, and they certainly could if a vaccine for COVID-19 is pushed out in time. The start of the '20-'21 season is tentatively scheduled for December 1, though that's subject to change. That leaves roughly six months for a vaccine to be distributed.
One would have to imagine that fans could be allowed to slowly return to games during the season if a vaccine is made available after it begins, but the league could always make a permanent decision ahead of time.
It's hard to say if fans will truly have to wait until the 2021-2022 season to see their favorite teams in person again, but at this point, that looks like the most likely scenario.