BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 2021-22 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season will kick off on Saturday in Zhuji, east China's Zhejiang Province when defending champions Guangdong Southern Tigers face the Shenzhen Aviators, the CBA announced said on Tuesday.
Entering the 27th season since its inauguration in 1995, China's top-tier men's basketball league will expand to 20 teams with newcomers the Ningbo Rockets.
A total of 38 rounds are scheduled for the three stages of the regular season. The top 12 teams from the regular season will enter the playoffs starting on April 24, 2022, and the entire season will conclude no later than May 20.
Zhuji, which hosted the entire 2020-21 CBA season, will remain as the venue for the first stage of the upcoming regular season between October 16 and November 14.
With COVID-19 countermeasures put in place at the venues, some games of the new season will be open to spectators, said the CBA.
"We believe that through concerted efforts of the entire CBA family, our games will be back to cities and fans in the near future," CBA president Yao Ming told a press conference here on Tuesday.
Zhang Xiong, CEO of the CBA, said that after nearly three decades, the CBA has grown into a top-tier professional basketball league in China and Asia.
According to Zhang, a series of measures will be undertaken next season to boost the league's influence among basketball fans.
Apart from the traditional New Year and Spring Festival schedules, the CBA will introduce a new concept of "Saturday Evening" specifically for prime time matches during the weekends to better advertise these games, teams and players.
The CBA will also launch a fans-centered activity named "My Home Team, My CBA," integrating 20 clubs and social platforms such as Weibo and Hupu to forge a stronger bond with fans.
According to the CBA, 391 domestic players including 65 newcomers have registered in the 2021-22 season, the largest number of domestic players in four seasons.
Four overseas players can be registered for each team, and as many as four can enter the list for every match. Enditem