• Loading stock data...
Sunday, February 25, 2024
Rates for the 2024 Best Venue Awards increase this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

In-Season NBA Tourney Upshot: Success. But Will It Change?

  • The NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals begin on Thursday in Las Vegas.
  • After some uncertainty, the inaugural edition of the tournament has been a success.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals begin on Thursday in Las Vegas when the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, and Los Angeles Lakers battle for a spot in Saturday’s final and a $500,000-per-player prize for the winners.

By most accounts, the inaugural edition has been a success, though many players and fans initially questioned the event’s purpose. “I’m not even going to lie. I don’t even know what’s going on,” Los Angeles Clippers guard Bones Hyland said before the tournament began.

But as the group stage and quarterfinals played out, the NBA saw its best November attendance ever (averaging 18,208 fans per game), players increased their intensity, and viewership has been up from what the NBA normally sees during this point of the season. For example, group-play games on ESPN and TNT saw a 26% increase from last season’s comparable windows.

So, it’s safe to say that the first NBA Cup awarded on Saturday night won’t be the last.

However, the in-season tournament is young and may need to keep evolving to stay relevant long-term, which won’t be easy.

“It’s unlikely that we’re going to have a radical change to the format going into next year because it was so difficult to even align around this one,” NBA executive vice president of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch told Front Office Sports.” But that doesn’t mean that tweaks aren’t warranted [or that] we wouldn’t consider bringing back some things that may have ended up on the cutting room floor.”

One of the early ideas that got scrapped: an eight-game group stage, which would have allowed for all five teams per group to play home-and-aways against each other. (Argument against: That could have diminished the importance of some matchups.) “I expect you would see even more urgency in some of those early games next year, which is a benefit of having only four,” Wasch said. 

Still, Wasch said the NBA is open to studying models that could increase the number of group-stage games and create a longer build-up to the knockout round.

For now, the NBA is getting ready to crown a new “champion” in December — and start what it hopes will be a new fall tradition.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Sham Gods: The Rapidly Growing World of Sports Impersonators on X

Fake Schefters and Wojs, fabricated trade demands, and borrowed profile pictures.
Sep 24, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; A general view of the Oakland Athletics dugout after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Murky Future: Everything You Need to Know About the A’s Move to Las Vegas

Breaking down one of the most drawn-out, multifaceted sagas in sports.
Michigan defensive lineman Kenneth Grant celebrates a sack on Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the second quarter during the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Pay-for-Play Is Here: Federal Judge Says NCAA Cannot Enforce Any NIL Rules

The ruling effectively allows pay-for-play to go forward uninhibited.

WBD Touts Streaming Profit, Sports Alliance While Stock Is Hammered

TNT Sports parent sees tough reaction from Wall Street to latest earnings.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the Negro Leagues Are Staying in the Game

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Sabrina-Steph Wasn’t the ‘Battle of the Sexes’—But It Was Part of the Bigger War

The competition could play a factor in increasing the WNBA’s media value.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23), in a Star Wars rebel alliance X-wing fighter pilot-inspired race suit, motions to the crowd to get louder during the driver introductions for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Nov. 5, 2023.
February 17, 2024

Celebrity Owners, International Ambitions, and $7B Media Deals: Welcome to the New NASCAR

NASCAR boldly keeps pace with the increasingly competitive sports and entertainment world.
February 16, 2024

Wilson Introduced an Airless Basketball for $2,500. We Had Questions

The black, 3D-printed ball appeared in last year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Emily Henegar, a baker and content creator, made a batch of NFL-inspired cookies featuring Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.
February 11, 2024

The ‘Life-Changing’ Economy of Taylor Swift’s NFL Outfits

Appearing in Swift’s game-day wardrobe has been “life-changing” for small businesses.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Finance Manager
FanDuel
New York, NY
Senior Technical Artist - Sports Technology
EA Sports
Orlando, FL
Assistant Manager, Affiliate Operations
Adidas
Portland, OR
NFL salary cap

NFL Salary Cap Sees Historic Spike Ahead of 2024 Season

Each franchise was allotted $255.4M, which is a $30M increase for each team.
MLB Arizona
February 22, 2024

MLB Seeks Minimum Wage Exemption in Arizona

The system is for minor league players due to a previously agreed-on labor agreement.
February 23, 2024

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Manufacturer touts product benefits but ignores complaints of see-through fabric.
Sponsored

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.
February 22, 2024

MLB Uniform Furor: Lighter, More Flexible … and See-Through

See-through uniform pants create a social media stir, extending blowback on the new design.
February 21, 2024

‘Gotta Get in First’: For LIV Golfers, a New Path to the Green Jacket

Augusta National extended special invitations to three international golfers.
February 21, 2024

Messi Returns to MLS With the Weight of the League on His Shoulders

Inter Miami kicks off the MLS season against Real Salt Lake.
February 20, 2024

Pundits Bashed a 397-Point NBA All-Star Game—But Fans Still Watched

Silver struggles to conceal his frustration with the game’s lack of competitiveness.