North American basketball’s NBA has revealed further details on the launch of an annual in-season tournament after officially signing off on the league’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The NBA and its players' union, the NBPA, initially announced the terms of a new CBA in April that will run between the 2023-24 and 2029-30 seasons, putting an end to tense negotiations between the two organizations that lasted for more than a year.
The pair have now said the final long-form version of the agreement has been completed and signed and will come into effect tomorrow (July 1).
Among the significant inclusions announced in April was a long-discussed in-season tournament – similar to European soccer competitions like England’s FA Cup or Spain’s Copa del Rey – and the newest version has revealed more details about the event.
Starting from the 2023-24 season, the in-season tournament will consist of two stages -a group stage and a knockout stage, with all 30 teams participating in the group stage.
That will feature regular season games designated as tournament fixtures. Eight teams will then advance to a single elimination knockout stage based on their performance, culminating in one team being crowned champion.
Players on all four of the final teams will be compensated financially, and all of the games except for the championship decider will count as part of the 82-game regular season schedule.
Other elements of the CBA have also been detailed, including several business opportunities that have been opened for players.
The NBPA is now permitted to passively invest on behalf of players in private funds that invest in NBA teams on the condition its stake in a fund does not exceed 5% of the committed capital of the fund.
NBA players, meanwhile, will be allowed to invest in independent women’s WNBA teams – teams that do not have investment from any current NBA owners – provided they only invest in one team, with the investment not exceeding 4% of the franchise.
NBA players cannot collectively hold more than 8% in any independent WNBA side.
The CBA also outlines that a player can now hold a passive, non-controlling interest in a sports betting or fantasy company but only less than 1% if that company offers or facilitates NBA-related bets or contests.
They will also be allowed to participate in sports betting and fantasy endorsement.
Additionally, the CBA officially removes marijuana from the anti-drug testing program and allows players to promote and invest in cannabis companies.
Other noteworthy features include the inclusion of a healthcare program for former players, better benefits for current players, and a shorter preseason, while a minimum game requirement has been included for eligibility for major end-of-season awards, with players having to appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for individual awards such as Most Valuable Player.
Another major element of the agreement is a new secondary luxury tax level that aims to curb the ability of the highest-spending teams, like the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers, to continue running up enormous luxury tax bills that sometimes exceed their total player salary payrolls.
With the CBA signed and sealed, the NBA will turn its attention to negotiating its next domestic broadcast deal, with the league’s current contracts with media giants Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery due to end after the 2024-25 season.
Both broadcasters have an exclusive negotiating window until April 2024 to renew their deals. Should they fail to agree a new deal, the NBA could open negotiations with media giant NBCUniversal, which informed the league of its potential interest in reclaiming the rights.
NBC previously held NBA rights over two decades ago – last showing games in 2002 – but was replaced by Turner Sports and Disney, which have broadcast the top basketball league across the US since.