January 25, 2021

What We're Reading: January 2021

Happy new year from SSAC! To kick the new year off, we’re bringing back the tradition of sharing our favorite storylines from the sports industry. Here is what we’ve been reading this month:

Will the NBA season be able to address the COVID-19 outbreak with game postponement and finish the 2020-21 season?

The NBA successfully finished the 2019-20 season in a bubble environment, but with the season now being played outside of the bubble in NBA arenas across the country, the league has already postponed 15 games, and teams are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks (the Washington Wizards are currently dealing with the latest outbreak). Even with the recent uptick in COVID-related postponements, many NBA executives are confident that a league shutdown won’t happen. The league is determined to finish given the potential financial ramifications of cancelling, but what are the consequences of this season? The NBA is reportedly facing $4 billion in lost revenue if fans are not allowed back into arenas, which could have an impact on both the league and the players via their revenue-sharing CBA. 

The 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season is unlike any other and COVID-19 has also significantly impacted both the NCAAM and NCAAW basketball seasons.

Five NCAAW programs have opted out of the remainder of the 2020-21 season, and several other NCAAM programs have halted their seasons with many games across conferences postponed. The turmoil has led to some early surprises in the women’s college basketball season as well as some unexpected numbers in the men’s game. Despite the tumultuous circumstances, both the NCAAW and NCAAM Basketball Committees have already begun planning for their respective championship tournaments. 

After exciting AFC and NFC Championship Games, the NFL is gearing up for a compelling Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in two weeks.

While the negative trend for TV viewership continued its 7% decline from the 2020 NFL regular season into Wildcard Weekend and the Divisional Round, fans enjoyed two great conference championship games this past Sunday and are looking forward to another showdown between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV. The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman breaks down the winners and losers of the Buccaneers-Packers and Bills-Chiefs matchups yesterday while ESPN provides a primer for Super Bowl LV.