Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After initially indicating that the 2020-21 season would likely start in January or February, NBA officials are now pushing for a 72-game season starting Dec. 22.

The state of play: There are obvious financial benefits to an earlier start, including the preservation of the league's marquee Christmas games and not having to compete with football again, let alone the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Yes, but: The main reason the NBA changed its mind is that the chief argument for delaying the season — the return of fans — is no longer realistic.

  • A few months ago, there was hope that the virus would wane by February, giving teams the chance to sell tickets and generate other in-stadium revenue, which accounts for roughly 40% of the league's $8 billion annual revenue.
  • But instead of slowing down, infections have reached all-time highs amid the pandemic's third wave, leaving the NBA in no position to bank on a smooth reopening of arenas.

By the numbers: The NBA fell $1.5 billion short of its projected revenue for 2019-20 and believes it will lose another $500 million if its fails to start in December.

  • Those kinds of losses dramatically alter future salary caps and individual salaries, but the players' union remains reluctant to agree to such a short offseason (72 days between the end of last season and Dec. 22).

Looking ahead: The NBA is reportedly developing ways to increase cash flow, including new on-court endorsement signage and more relaxed guidelines on sports betting and hard alcohol partnerships.

  • A play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff spots in each conference is also on the table.
  • It was a success in the bubble and would instantly create new revenue streams for the league and its broadcast partners.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 19, 2020 - Economy & Business

Roblox files for its IPO

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roblox, a Silicon Valley-based social gaming platform for tweens and teens, on Thursday filed for a $1 billion initial public offering.

Why it matters: Roblox was big business before the pandemic, but really skyrocketed once kids were stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.