Report: NBA revenue fell 10 percent in 2019-20

29 Oct 2020 / 09:20 H.

    The coronavirus pandemic combined with lost business in China saw NBA revenue fall 10 percent in the 2019-20 season, ESPN reported Wednesday.

    The intake dipped to $8.3 billion, with the league saying it lost $800 million in ticket sales and $400 million in sponsorship and merchandise, according to ESPN.

    In addition, the controversy sparked by then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting support for Hong Kong protestors against the Beijing government cost the NBA $200 million in "net negative impact," per the report.

    ESPN reported that it obtained the figures that the league shared with its teams.

    The NBA's balance sheet carries great importance to the league because the annual player salary cap is tied to league revenue.

    According to ESPN, if the latest figures were treated in the standard fashion, the salary cap for the 2020-21 season would drop from the expected $109 million per team to approximately $90 million. However, team owners and the National Basketball Players Association reportedly are in talks regarding the formula that will be used for the coming season.

    Complicating matters is the fact that some or all of the upcoming season might be contested without fans in the stands. Per the report, a full season in such circumstances would prompt a 40-percent drop in revenue, around $4 billion.

    The one bit of positive news for the NBA in the report was that the restart of the season in a "bubble" near Orlando, Fla., provided to be a financial victory in addition to a sporting success. Play had been halted in mid-March due to the pandemic, but 22 of the league's 30 teams resumed the regular season in the bubble in mid-July, and the remaining games through the NBA Finals were contested at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

    The bubble wound up allowing the league to earn $1.5 billion that would have been lost had the season been abandoned, per ESPN. The bubble's expenses totaled $190 million, a $10 million hike on the expected figure.

    --Field Level Media

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