NBA 2030: Forecasting where the NBA will be with tech, culture shifts, and player empowerment

Virtual Reality with view of stadium

With technology changing our daily lives, so will innovation in the tech space impact the NBA.

From recruiting picks to making trades, collecting and leveraging data points to new channels of marketing; the NBA is projected to evolve immensely in the next decade. In this article, we look at where the league is currently to predict some of the major changes expected in the next ten years. The goal isn’t to be precise but to forecast where the NBA will be in 2030 based on current technology and cultural trends.

Enhanced Viewing Experiences

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is at the forefront of pushing teams to introduce innovations that enhance viewers’ experiences. For starters, Silver wants teams to reduce reliance on Cable TV networks in exchange for online platforms.

In doing so, fans will have more control over how they watch games. By installing multiple cameras throughout arenas, NBA teams could allow fans to choose which camera angles to use. They could also mount VR headsets for an immersive experience.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Silver was quoted saying innovation will be his main focus in the next several years. And if he can help teams adopt better technologies, fans could consume NBA content much differently than they presently do.

“Just like any business, you innovate or die.” Silver said.

The Mavericks, Bucks, Hawks, and the Pacers are some of the top NBA teams presently using innovations geared at enhancing the viewing experience. The Hawks introduced 360 cameras last November, a move the team’s VC dubbed “the wave of the future.”

Sports Betting and Gaming Partnerships

Before the Supreme Court gave states the authority to regulate sports betting in 2018, Silver supported such a move with an op-ed on the New York Times in 2014. The commissioner argued a regulated legal sports betting environment over an illegal one.

Luckily, USA states can now allow their residents to bet on sports, a progression that could shape up the NBA’s revenue sources in the next decade. For starters, the NBA proposed that bookies pay a portion of their revenues in exchange for data. Bookmakers rejected the proposal restlessly.

Now it appears advertisement deals from betting sites could be the best partnership between the NBA and bookmakers. The league could also accept adverts online casinos targeting NBA fans. And although regulations on how companies advertise will be made, such deals could magnify the league’s revenues tremendously.

Gaming Partnerships

For the last couple of years, the NBA has made its intentions to promote eSports clear. The league even has a department that supports professional video game players who play the NBA 2K. It does that by holding competitions, rewarding winners, and sponsoring talented players in academic programs.

Besides video games, the NBA could also partner with casino software providers interested in developing slots themed after the league. Already, there are several slots inspired by basketball, but none of them features actual NBA players. That could change in the future as the league grows popular worldwide.

In the meantime, most gambling sites are revolutionizing how they create games to attract players in the future. If you join some of the most amazing online casinos in New Zealand, you receive exclusive bonuses to use on your favorite games. At some sites, you could also play poker and blackjack using VR devices.

High School to the NBA

Multiple NBA insiders believe the league could re-introduce the high school to the NBA system by 2022. Under the measure, players won’t have to attend college for a year before they are eligible to play in the senior league.

At the same time, the league will require each team to have an affiliate G-League club through which they can develop young talents. Introducing such rules will disrupt the NBA recruitment system immensely.

Players such as James Wiseman, who was forced to quit college after being frustrated by the NCAA, wouldn’t need to hassle their way to the NBA. LaMelo Ball, also forced to play oversees to avoid college rules, would have entered the draft pick immediately. They would have likely tried to jump to the NBA as Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Amare Stoudemire did before then.

Most NBA executives also support such a move as it will help them develop young players more effectively.

“Growing players with your own systems and coaches is more important today than it was five years ago,” one executively told reporters last December. “It will even be more important five years from now, especially if high schoolers are added.”

A Shorter Season

The NBA is regularly welcoming suggestions on how to restructure its current format. Some people have proposed playoff games be reduced while others want some regular games to be eliminated. On the other end, teams are increasingly resting their star players.

Silver’s plan is to shorten regular games to 78 and, in turn, add a mid-season tournament. To incentivize teams, he proposes a $1 million reward for each player in the winning team. The proposal was met with heavy criticism from fans and teams. At least one team owner, Mark Cuban, has opposed the idea, terming it as “dumb.”

Against that backdrop, it will take time before the league agrees on how to restructure. In the meantime, executives believe fans will accept the idea of load management by 2030. It’s been a contentious topic so far. But as teams point out the health benefits of resting players, the move will become accepted with time.

More Balance in the League

NBA Legend Charles Barkley believes NBA owners will rethink how teams draft players once the current deal is over in 2023.

“Our whole goal is built around stealing the next superstar,” Barkley told the Washington Post in an interview. “If people think these owners aren’t going to do something, they are crazy.”

Barkley, like Silver, is against the idea of players drafting fellow superstars to stack up talent in one team. The commissioner is on record opposing moves by players to form super teams. As a countermeasure, he introduced harsher penalties against tampering last season.

Experts believe teams will agree on spiking salary caps in the future. That way, it will become impossible to sign multiple superstars in one team. It’s a move NBA fans all over the world would probably support, noting most of them frequently criticize super teams.

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