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NBA Votes To Make Playoff Play-In Tournament Permanent

  • This season's Clippers-Timberwolves play-in matchup was one of the most watched games of the NBA season.
  • In 2021, Lakers-Warriors was one of the highest watched games since 2019.
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most popular additions to the NBA schedule is here to stay.

On Tuesday, the NBA board of governors voted to make the postseason play-in tournament a permanent fixture — just months after commissioner Adam Silver said he believed the competition would stay.

The board had been approving the tournament’s inclusion on a year-by-year basis, but swelling support from teams and fans pushed the league to keep it.

Impressive TV numbers have been key for the tournament’s success.

  • The Clippers and Timberwolves play-in averaged 2.7 million viewers on TNT this season, its most-watched game since the season opener.
  • It was the 14th-largest audience of the season for any network up to that point.
  • In 2021, the highly anticipated Lakers-Warriors play-in averaged 5.6 million viewers — at the time the most-watched ESPN NBA telecast since the 2019 Western Conference Finals.

In-Season Tournament Incoming

The board of governors also discussed adding an in-season tournament Tuesday — but several key components will still need to be addressed.

The format of the tournament and the logistics of placing it in-season will be important — as will competitive and financial incentives, such as a discussed $1 million purse for each player on the winning team.

All changes will need to be collectively bargained with the players’ union before approval.