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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

Trump bump: NYT and WaPo digital subscriptions tripled since 2016

Data: Axios reporting and public filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Times and The Washington Post have very different strategies for building the subscription news company of the future.

The big picture: Sources tell Axios that the Post is nearing 3 million digital subscribers, a 50% year-over-year growth in subscriptions and more than 3x the number of digital-only subscribers it had in 2016. The New York Times now has more than 6 million digital-only subscribers, nearly 3x its number from 2016.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Biden's emerging climate orbit

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

As of Tuesday morning, we know a lot more about President-elect Joe Biden climate personnel orbit, even as picks for agencies like EPA and DOE are outstanding, so here are a few early conclusions.

Why it matters: They're the highest-level names yet announced who will have a role in what Biden is promising will be a far-reaching climate and energy agenda.

Janet Yellen is back

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

A face familiar to Wall Street is back as a central player that this time will need to steer the country out of a deep economic crisis.

Driving the news: President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed chair Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary.