The NBA will have one of its most important game days less than a week into the 2020-21 season: Christmas.
Since the NBA’s current TV deals began in 2002, Christmas has produced the league’s highest-rated regular season game each year. In 2008, the day’s slate of games was expanded to five.
This year’s matchups, which will all be aired on either ABC or ESPN, are:
- New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat (noon ET)
- Golden State Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks (2:30 p.m. ET)
- Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics (5 p.m. ET)
- Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers (8 p.m. ET)
- Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m. ET)
The NBA estimated it would generate around $500 million in additional revenue by starting the 2020-21 season before Christmas thanks to lucrative broadcast deals for the holiday.
The rest of the regular season schedule is trickling out — the first half is expected to be released in full later this week and the second half about 30 games into the season.
- Opening night will feature Golden State Warriors vs. Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers.
- There will be only 72 regular season games, down from the typical 82.
- As an attempt to limit travel, teams are expected to play “baseball-style” series against opponents, with multiple consecutive games in the same city against the same team.
Teams will also play three times against every other team in their own conference, rather than the usual four games against 10 conference opponents and three against the rest.