Netflix to Produce Exclusive Docuseries on NBA In-Season Tournament

NBA in Talks with Netflix to Partner on New In-Season Tournament

Word on the street is that the NBA and Netflix could be partnering on a new In-Season tournament. Perhaps Netflix can make fans care about this apparently pointless tournament that nobody asked for. The risk would be on Netflix while the NBA gets all the publicity and exposure for its new creation.

If any streaming platform can make people care, it’s Netflix. They’ve done similar docuseries focused on golf, tennis, and Formula One racing. Getting players to buy into this might be the most important aspect of the project. Since most of this generation can’t seem to shut up whenever a camera is near, it’s likely they’ll be interested. However, making them care about the actual tournament is another thing.

When highlighting players off the court, it’ll be imperative that stars agree and take it seriously. Or players with intriguing backgrounds, at the least. Drawing an emotional attachment from people usually works. The NBA needs a way to set this tourney apart from the rest of the season and make it appointment television. Involving Netflix could be the best way to achieve this. Put an interesting enough story about a player or team that most haven’t heard and could hook viewers.

It feels like people are still figuring out the format of the tournament. The soccer-style system of grouping teams together may not be the best way to grab most American fans who aren’t used to this. That doesn’t mean they won’t grow to love it, but we also know change is hard for most people.

Adding signature courts strictly for tourney play adds a different aesthetic but is not enough to hold anyone’s attention for long. The idea of the association getting together with Netflix isn’t a bad one. The in-season tournament is Commissioner Adam Silver’s baby, as he’s had his sights set on launching this for years.

“This is a concept that has been rumbling around the league office for about 15 years,” Silver said. “It’s not a new concept in sports. For those that follow particularly international soccer, it’s a long tradition of having in-season tournaments … so we thought, what a perfect opportunity for a global league like the NBA, and it’s a perfect fit for our game.”

Knowing this, it’s clear that Commish Silver will give his creation every chance to succeed. He’s likely willing to try whatever it takes since this was something talked about before he replaced former Commissioner David Stern. And if the collaboration with Netflix on this In-season tournament is successful, don’t be surprised if a special surrounding the play-in follows.

We know Netflix has no problem taking a risk and producing these docuseries and specials, so the NBA will be in good hands should this marriage happen. There really is no risk for Silver and the association other than the tournament being an overall failure. Should this in-season tournament surpass expectations (whatever they are in the NBA’s eyes), it’ll mean more revenue for the league and another gimmick to throw at us every fall. If that happens, it could mean a quicker international expansion, which the NBA already has plans for. Silver is probably hoping the success of this tournament will make people forget how little players care about his new rest rule for missing games.