The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced this week they reached an agreement about a new set of rules for their upcoming season, set to start on Dec. 22.
Michael Huyghue, visiting professor of practice at the Law School and an expert in the professional sports industry, says the league is likely betting on high revenues from television rights fees and will resort to bubbles to protect its players at key times.
“I think the fact that the salary cap is staying constant is a big factor. The pandemic has played havoc with revenues, but the holy grail of revenues in professional sports is television rights fees payments. The restart of the NBA seems to imply that the networks are satisfied with their coverage and ratings and optimistic about increased and sustained ratings going forward.
“I think also that while hopeful projects anticipate a vaccine shortly into the new year there will still be players testing positive and requiring quarantine protocols etc. I would imagine that the finals will likely be held under the same bubble procedures the league utilized this past season in Orlando.
“Interestingly, I think the NFL will also bubble its playoff teams to avoid any major losses of key players in their most important games both for television purposes and for the competitive credibility of the league.”