NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes the league’s global aspirations will be significantly aided by the introduction of the new In-Season Tournament — an effort specifically designed to resemble international sports.
The league on Saturday introduced the new competition, which was a key component of the newly signed labor deal with the National Basketball Players Association. Starting on Nov. 3, the tournament will involve a group stage of six five-team groups, with the six group winners and two wild cards advancing to an eight-team knockout stage in early December. The semifinals and final will be held Dec. 7 and 9 in a Final Four-type event set for Las Vegas as teams compete for the new NBA Cup.
Aimed partly at boosting the relatively slower early part of the regular-season schedule, the In-Season Tournament takes sizable influence from Cup events in European soccer.
“It’s not a new concept in sports. For those that follow, particularly international soccer, there’s a long tradition of having in-season tournaments,” said Silver, who was part of a special edition of ESPN’s “NBA Today” to unveil the competition. “So we thought, ‘what a perfect opportunity for a global league like the NBA,’ and it’s a perfect fit for our game.”
Players will compete for a prize pool of about $18 million, with championship team members receiving $500,000 each. Payouts will reach $200,000, $100,000, and $50,000 for players on teams losing in earlier rounds.
Specific games and broadcast plans for the In-Season Tournament will be announced next month.