NBA Strikes Gold Again; In-Season Tournament to Debut in 2023-‘24

NBA Strikes Gold Again; In-Season Tournament to Debut in 2023-‘24

Photo credit: Louis Grasse, Vegas Sports Today

While this is sure to be a season that will be one for the ages, beginning this year, the NBA will launch a new annual competition, the In-Season Tournament for all 30 teams. The inaugural event tips off on Nov. 3 – and culminates with the Championship Game slated for December 9th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

Photo credit: Louis Grasse, Vegas Sports Today

In opening the 2023-2024 season Wednesday in Denver, the NBA finally began what is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly-anticipated  campaigns in recent years, if not ever. Blessed with countless deliciously intriguing storylines heading into this season, including: former league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo teaming up with erstwhile Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard, French phenom Victor Wembanyama beginning what might be the most iconic and scrutinized season for a Spurs big man ever, to LeBron James embarking on an   unfathomable 21st year of his remarkable career while passionately pursuing a return to his place as supreme supernova of all superstars in the basketball galaxy, while maybe not biggest at first glance, the NBA’s in-season tournament could actually prove to be the most impactful. 

Photo credit: Louis Grasse, Vegas Sports Today

The upcoming negotiations for the NBA’s billion-dollar broadcast media and streaming rights will be among the most talked-about negotiations in all of sports next year.

With the league likely to seek somewhere in the neighborhood from $60 to $85 billion dollars for its next cycle of long-term media rights, the new competition could prove to be a valuable asset, and bargaining chip at the table.

The League’s visionary leadership has shrewdly positioned this new approach as a key element that could add substantial leverage at the negotiating table for future media rights. 

As part of the new IST, all 30 clubs will compete in Group Play with eight teams advancing to the single-elimination knockout rounds until
 one is crowned Champion, thereby becoming recipients of the Inaugural NBA Cup. The Tournament Tips Off Nov. 3; with the Semifinals slated for December 7 and the Championship two days later, the last three will all be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Related news: Desert Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, December 23, 2023

The NBA In-Season Tournament could potentially even be marketed and sold as its own broadcast package -similar to the NFL’s Thursday and Sunday night games- in the next set of deals.
NBA brass set the grouping up perfectly in aligning the IST as a new marquee event with the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland TrailBlazers and Utah Jazz comprising Group A, Denver and the LA Clippers highlighting Group B, and the iconic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and the Warriors joined by Sacramento, San Antonio, Minnesota and OKC in Group C in the Western Conference. 

During an exclusive negotiating period, current shareholders ESPN and TNT will be given the chance to defend their co-exclusive partnership with the NBA dating back decades. 

The League unveiled details of the new annual competition for all 30 teams in Vegas last summer.

Tipping off next Friday, in various respective NBA team markets and culminating with the Semifinals on Thursday, December 7th and the Championship on Saturday, December 9th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

NBA Executive Vice President, and Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars upon unveiling the plans for the new initiative, said: 

“We are excited to introduce the NBA In-Season Tournament as an opportunity to further enhance and innovate around our season structure.”

Photo courtesy of the NBA