The NBA suspended its regular season on Wednesday after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
At the time of the announcement, the suspension was to be in effect for at least 30 days. However, a recommendation from the CDC has forced the NBA to push back the restart of the regular season by at least a few more weeks.
Despite the setback, the NBA is hoping it will play at least 70 regular season games before the start of the playoffs.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the league wants to play at least 70 regular season games because of its obligation to regional sports networks.
“What they would love to do is to get to 70 games,” Windhorst said on his podcast. “And the reason is it’s 70 is a key number is because that is what the deliverable is to the regional sports networks. They are promised 70 games.”
Prior to the suspension of the regular season, most teams had played up to 65 games.
“Now, just because a team like the [Los Angeles] Lakers, for example, to get to 70 games … they wouldn’t necessarily be able to deliver on that because they’ve had a lot of national games,” Windhorst said. “But getting to 70 would be helpful in retaining revenue because they wouldn’t have to refund some to the local TV.”
If the suspension extends into the summer, it will likely push back the start of the 2020 season.