He's just spitballin', here. That's what businessmen and businesswomen do. That's what smart and creative people do.
(But you know that it's coming.)
The thirst for NBA basketball in China is strong. The country is ardent in its fandom, buying heaps of jerseys and hats and bubblegum cards while staying up all hours for NBA games as it takes to its massive online NBA community. That middle part, however, is a killer for a Chinese NBA fan.
The league's four time zones allow for a wonderful night out for those of us in North America that follow the league �C whether we're drooling over League Pass, tuning into a nationally televised doubleheader, or checking into what happened a day after via newspaper, the internet, television, podcasts, or any combination of all sorts of media.
Chinese fans? They have to sneak in viewings early in the morning to take in the action. And that's a hamstrung way to grow a brand in the world's biggest potential market. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, via Pro Basketball Talk, discussed as much with the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit on Thursday:
"I think the biggest challenge (to growing the game internationally) is the time zone differences. I mean, for example, in China, roughly 12 hours different from the East Coast. So prime time games are on early in the morning, so you have to figure out whether we need to create new products, condensed games that are shown later, whether it becomes a business of highlights, whether it's equivalent of tweets and other forms of social media.
"I think that's sort of �� part of the biggest challenge. I mean, ultimately, whether we should consider time-shifting some of our games. Once the audience becomes big enough, maybe it's not so crazy to ask a team once every two months to play a Saturday morning game ...
"Yes, maybe when the audience gets big enough China and you're reaching 100 million people in China to say so maybe once in a while a team will play at 10:00 on Saturday morning."nba discount jerseys
It's true that a typical 8:00 PM EST tip-off at Madison Square Garden directly lines up with an 8:00 AM viewing in Beijing, and it's also true that Silver is just tossing a number out off the top of his head, but how does this really help anyone?
A 10:00 AM tip on a Saturday would result in China taking in an NBA game at 10 at night on a Saturday -- not exactly prime time. Yes, a Saturday night is far more preferable than working up such a gimmick on a Monday or Wednesday night. And, yes, scads of us Eastern Time zone NBA freaks still eagerly stay up well past midnight on a school night to see what Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry are doing some three time zones away, but this is still a tough sell.
Right now, at least.
This is Adam Silver just chewing at his options. Just the mere mention of a possible exhibition game, nba discount jerseys with the starters barely playing and the minutes being taken by training camp fodder, is enough to excite dozens of international NBA markets. An actual game being played in that market, in October? It goes over like gangbusters.
So to have the NBA basically announce, to an entire and massive NBA community, that they're waking up Damian Lillard at an ungodly hour just for you? That would be huge.
The problem is waking Lillard up, as you ask him to attempt to make Team USA in August, potentially play on Team USA in September, put him through the (sometimes international) exhibition paces in October, ask him to lead his team until (fingers crossed!) June, while barely giving him a break (on top of asking him to participate in mandatory community outreach programs and All-Star break events) in February.
Now, in a season full of back-to-backs and four games in five nights and having Portland and Memphis play in the same "Western" Conference, you want him to arrive to the arena at 8:30 in the morning for a 10:00 AM tip?
(Oh, but we'll give you Thursday and Friday off. And you won't play again until Monday.)
Yeah, but, everyone has to play 82 games. That one early-morning game in four days "break" has to be made up at some point. With back-to-backs and/or four games in five nights.
All we're doing is pointing out the potential drawbacks of a plan that might not even be in its formative stages, drawbacks that Adam Silver is no doubt well aware of and more than likely five steps ahead of us in attempting to counter. I've long been a proponent of extending the NBA's calendar season (partially so we don't have to write up hypothetical columns like these in the dregs of September) in order to leave more space between games, enhance offseason hype, and give the NBA a chance to dip its toes into avenues like these.
This should be one of the reasons why the NBA should start things in mid-October. Let's breathe a little, and grow the brand along the way.
Taking in an early afternoon game in Toronto or New York, on Sunday, can sometimes be a miserable experience, in relative NBA terms. It's not just the hardy-har jokes about the players engaging in Saturday night life in the hours before, rather, it's about a players' rhythm. Their clock. What they're used to. No amount of time off on Friday and Saturday night in the days before can prepare you for trying to tell your body that it's 8 in the evening, nfl discount jerseys the time it's used to banging around in, when it's just an hour past noon.
That doesn't mean there aren't possibilities here. The play may stink at 10 in the morning, but the move to reach out to China could be used to create a better NBA product overall.