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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With TV viewership down, the NBA is weighing all kinds of ideas to rejuvenate its regular season — like fewer games or a midseason tournament — and it's even open to making basketball more of a summer sport.

Driving the news: During a panel at this past weekend's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin proposed starting the NBA season in mid-December rather than mid-October.

  • Koonin believes such a shift would allow the NBA to avoid having to compete with the NFL and college football's regular seasons, which it currently does for the first 2.5 months of each campaign.
  • It would also result in the NBA Finals taking place in August rather than June, giving the league an opportunity to dominate more of the summer months when the only other show in town is baseball.

What he's saying:

"We have built the architecture of our season based on the ad market, not based on the consumer. ... The reason the Finals are in June is because there are more ad dollars in the second [fiscal] quarter. Why? It doesn't exist anymore."
— Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin

Why it matters: Koonin simply proposing this change would not have been news. But right after he mentioned it, a league executive said the NBA was open to such an idea — evidence of the league's willingness to shake things up.

"We certainly have no issue with reconsidering the calendar. ... We're open to that ... there's no magic to [the season going from] October to June."
— Evan Wasch, NBA senior VP of strategy and analytics

The big picture: There's one land grab left in the crowded American sports calendar, and it's the six to eight weeks in July and August.

  • Even in World Cup and Olympic years, it remains relatively quiet compared to the football-crazed fall or the madness of March.

Go deeper: NBA viewership down from last year across ESPN, TNT

Go deeper

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
49 mins ago - Economy & Business

Ripple CEO calls for clearer crypto regulations following SEC lawsuit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), widely seen as a member of the Republican establishment in Congress, will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.