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Silver: NBA Revenue ‘Did Somewhat Better Than We Initially Projected’

NBA commissioner Adam Silver covered several topics in a pregame media appearance on Tuesday.

2021 NBA Finals - Game One Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Prior to the start of the 2021 NBA Finals, NBA commissioner Adam Silver provided several key updates for the NBA’s future. According to Silver, the league slightly outperformed preseason revenue projections for the pandemic-altered 2020-21 season.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne highlighted Silver’s comments regarding the state of the NBA.

“We did somewhat better than we initially projected,” Silver said Tuesday before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “We don’t have the exact numbers yet, but maybe we’ll be down roughly a third in revenue, something around there, instead of 40%.”

Silver went on to explain that the NBA is cautiously optimistic that it can get back on track for next season.

Silver added that while the burden for those losses will be shared by both franchise owners and players, because of the way the league splits up Basketball Related Income (BRI), he was hopeful that “if things continue on track, we could move toward a new season, next year, that looks a lot more like normal” and “we’ll have weathered [the pandemic] very well.”

In regard to potential expansion, Silver tempered expectations for near-future changes.

“I know that was reported when revenues were down we were looking more seriously at expansion,” Silver said. “It didn’t work exactly like that, largely because expansion is a multiyear process. So, it wasn’t as if the pandemic came, we’re 40% down, we can quickly collect some expansion revenue.

“It’s true that we actually had some time while we were initially shut down, and we were meeting more often with our teams, to think a little bit more about it. But it seemed the consensus was certainly during a pandemic that wasn’t the right time to expand but that we should continue to consider it.”

Earlier in the year, multiple sources reported that the NBA was considering a multi-team expansion in order to curb revenue losses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read Shelburne’s full story on Silver at ESPN.