NBL eyes December start for 2020-21 season

The 2020-21 NBL regular season will begin "on or around" December 3 and conclude by mid-to-late April, the league announced on Friday.

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NBL to delay the start to its season, which would ordinarily be in October, but Larry Kestelman now has a firm target date in mind, with an eye toward best facilitating crowds.

"We believe this gives us the best chance to be able to accommodate as many fans as possible into venues and gives some certainty for our Clubs, players, sponsors, venues and fans as they plan for next season," the NBL's owner and executive chairman said.

"We are also heartened by the progress other sporting leagues have made as they have returned to play, in particular the easing of restrictions in some states to allow fans back into venues in a limited capacity. We will continue to monitor their progress and work with the relevant government authorities as we plan for our season. "

Kestelman said he consulted with the nine NBL teams, the Australian Basketball Players Association, government authorities, and the league's Medical Officer when coming to a decision on a start date for the new season.

Because of the later start to the season, the NBL has also pushed back the beginning of the league's free agency period; now set to begin on July 15.