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‘Reason’ Why the NBA Needed the Play-In

April 19, 2023
byTJ1146 views

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The NBA instituted the Play-In tournament, and many have been flabbergasted because they have no idea about the reason the league decided to put up such a mini-tournament.

In every action, especially for businesses like the NBA, there is a deeper reason for a Play-In. But it does not mean that everyone will accept it.

Notable names in the league, such as LeBron James and Mark Cuban, have expressed their displeasure because of this new format. We have seen the King complaining about the number of games they have been playing just to keep his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the Playoff Picture.

“If we end up in the playoff — whatever that thing is — whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired,” James grumbled. “But whatever.”

The same goes with Cuban, who told ESPN it was “an enormous mistake.”

Albeit the complaints from athletes and owners, a prequel for the actual NBA playoffs is actually a good thing, particularly for some fans and bettors of online sports betting platforms.

Because of the Play-In, meaningful games have occurred, and instead of teams looking to tank, they play wonderful basketball instead. An assistant coach even said that it was a “great” way to allow “lesser and younger teams something to play for toward the end of the season.”

“It makes teams not tank and helps younger teams grow and develop,” he added. 

But for the website Basketball World, this is the main reason:

OkBet Reason for the NBA Play-In


In the past years, the NBA has seen a decline in TV ratings. It was even evident when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, as the NBA bubble had one of the worst Finals ratings in history.

As a matter of fact, the 2020 NBA Finals was one of the lowest ratings the league has had. The series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat only garnered an average of 7.5 million views, which was lower by 51% than 2019’s ratings.

But when NBA decided to apply the Play-In concept in 2021, the TV ratings improved. The series featuring the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns had 9.91 million viewers.

But the ratings improved further when the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics met in the Finals. Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals reached 12 million viewers and had a peak of nearly 13 million viewers, becoming the most-watched game in three years since the ratings declined.

Since the NBA’s application of the Play-In tournament, it became a solution for the league’s problem. When the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics met in the Play-In, it had a 1.5 rating and 2.50 million viewers on TNT—the largest viewership the NBA had since the Brooklyn Nets versus the Warriors on ABC.

This success prompted the NBA to consider implementing the Play-In tournament on a permanent basis. The tournament, which features teams competing for the final playoff spots, increased viewership and added more excitement to the end of the regular season.


The Play-In tournament allows teams on the cusp of making the playoffs to compete for a chance to enter the postseason. This has resulted in more teams fighting for their spot in the playoffs, which has made the end of the regular season more exciting.

Moreover, the tournament format has also created more storylines and rivalries, which has drawn in casual fans who may not have been interested in the NBA before. This has resulted in increased engagement on social media and other platforms, which has further boosted the league’s popularity.

While the Play-In tournament may not be a cure-all for the NBA’s rating problems, it has certainly helped the league regain some of the viewership it lost in recent years. With the success of the tournament, it is likely that the NBA will continue to explore new ways to improve the fan experience and attract more viewers in the years to come.

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