New CBA season to tip off in Shaoxing
CBA president Yao Ming addresses the media at the launch of the CBA's 2020-21 season in Beijing on Oct 12. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The 2020-21 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season will tip off in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province on Oct 17, with a record-breaking number of regular season games in league history.
The first round of the season will start in Zhuji, a county-level city in Shaoxing, with defending champion Guangdong taking on Zhejiang at 8pm on Oct 17.
"In this phase of regular COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, we will be more precise and earnest in preventing and controlling the epidemic in order to guarantee a safe and smooth 2020-21 season," said CBA president Yao Ming.
Twenty teams will be divided into two groups that will play at two stadiums, one at Jiyang College of Zhejiang A&F College in Zhejiang and the other in Hailiang Education Park.
Each team will play 56 games in an extended regular season, up from 46 last year, with the top 12 clubs advancing to the playoffs in May, making the 2020-21 season the longest in the CBA's 26-year history at over six months.
Due to China's temporary entry ban to control imported COVID-19 infections, most CBA clubs are expected to initially play without their full foreign rosters.
As of Tuesday, the Liaoning Leopards' OJ Mayo was the only registered foreigner, while some import players who stayed in China throughout the offseason, like American Sonny Weems of the defending champion Guangdong Southern Tigers, will be registered soon.
"Still, we need to stay vigilant by continuing to play inside the bubble to guarantee the health and safety of everybody involved. We are confident though of reopening stadiums to fans when possible," Yao said.