The estimated $1.4 billion a year Disney pays for NBA broadcast rights and the “fewer opportunities for players to get into off-court trouble,” likely helped set Orlando apart from top competitor Las Vegas in a battle to host the league’s restart. Disney, meanwhile, would see employees back at work as the NBA spends “tens of millions of dollars” and ESPN can avoid an estimated $481 million loss of ad revenue from an incompleted season.
The NBA is expected to announce its plans for play later this week, including a 22-team format, which would require a three-fourths majority vote of the 30 teams. The expanded playoff model would be worth “several hundred million dollars” more than if the league skipped straight to the normal 16-team playoff.
While the talk of a 22-team model gains traction, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett spoke out on why all 30 teams should be included in a July restart. Nine months without play could leave small markets like OKC with issues in player development, sponsorships and ticket sales. To quell those concerns, there has been talk of mandatory summer training camps and regional fall leagues.