What Is The New NBA In-Season Tournament? Format, Schedule, Details

NBA introduces In-Season Tournament, inspired by European soccer, with enticing player prizes and fresh competitive dynamics.

Since 2021, we have seen talks of a new NBA tournament that will make regular season games more significant and, generally, the first part of the competition more exciting. This has finally come to fruition, with an agreement between the league and the NBPA having been signed in June. The result? The NBA In-Season Tournament. 

The tournament will take place starting this season. To help you become familiar with the whole concept, we’ll dive into the details. The article is based on insights from Eddy Cheung, a sports and online casino expert from OnlineCasinoRank. The website helps users identify the best local and international online casino sites.

What is the Point of the In-Season Tournament?

According to Cheung, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been pushing for this tournament for several years. This has been for several reasons, with the first one being additional revenue. The tournament can generate huge amounts of additional revenue from the competition, with the number one source, of course, being television rights. The sponsors will also bring in some extra resources.

Besides the revenue, the in-season tournament is also aimed at bringing in more viewers. As it will be part of the regular season, it will make this first part of the season much more exciting. The chance of silverware and a big payout will increase the motivation for teams, and viewers will also tune it at a time when attention usually drifts away.

What is the Format of the Tournament?

The idea of the NBA in-season tournament has been borrowed from European soccer tournaments. There, teams usually have a regular league season, then some extra competitions that increase intrigue as well as revenue. For example, English teams have The Premier League, but they also take part in The FA Cup and The League Cup. There are also UEFA competitions, such as the Champions League.

The NBA pre-season tournament uses the format used in the latter, where we have group stages and then knockouts before the final. 

The Group Play

In the in-season tournament Group Play, the NBA has grouped all 30 teams into 6 groups of five. They have been potted potted based on their performances last season, then randomly selected. In these groups, each team will play four games – two at home and two on the road. Each of the teams will face all four other teams in the same group, and the games will count towards the regular season stats.

The Knockout Rounds

After the group games, the leaders in each of the six groups will advance to the knockout rounds. They will also be joined by two wild cards, who will be the no.2 seeds selected based on their performance during the group games.

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The eight teams in the knock-out rounds will then face each other in the quarters. These will only be a single knockout game, with the same style also being used in the semi-finals. We’ll then have the final. The winners of the tournament will be awarded the new NBA Cup.

Note that with the exception of the final, the knockout games in the tournament will also count towards the regular season.

When will The NBA In-Season Tournament Take Place?

The NBA in-season tournament will feature all 30 teams taking part in a total of 78 games. The tournament’s Group Play will take place on “Tournament Nights,” which will be every Tuesday and Friday from November 3 to 28.

The Knockout Rounds will then begin with the quarters on Dec. 4 and 5. The semis will be on Dec. 7, while the championship will be decided on Dec. 9.  You can check out the full schedule here.

The Prizes and Honors 

To entice teams and players, there’s of course an incentive in the tournament. Players from the team that will eventually lift the trophy will get the largest prize, with each player receiving $500,000. 

Below is the breakdown of the prizes for each player:

  • Winners: $500,000
  • Runner-Up: $200,000
  • Semi-Finalists: $100,000
  • Quarter-Finalists: $50,000

After the finals, the NBA will then name the MVP of the competition as well as the All-Tournament Team. According to Cheung, whose site ranks the best local and international casinos, the NBA in-season tournament is expected to be a huge success and will introduce a new and exciting dynamic to the regular season.