From the Chicago Bulls’ bright red courts to the New Orleans Pelicans’ purple and neon green scheme, bold — and highly polarizing — basketball court designs are helping the NBA draw viewers for its first-ever regular season tournament. The tournament was created as a result of a perpetual problem facing the basketball league. The beginning of the season tends to garner the eyeballs of new and returning fans, and the end-of-season NBA Playoffs to determine the year’s champion tend to have strong ratings. But with an 82-game season, it can be hard to keep fans hooked during the mushy middle, around Christmas and New Year’s Day — especially when the NBA is competing against the NFL and college football season. The NBA In-Season Tournament, running this year for the first time, is the league’s idea for that mid-season boost. Players are competing for cash, as each player on the winning team receives $500,000. The teams themselves are competing for a new trophy, dubbed the NBA Cup. And the owners, of course, would be happy for any ratings boost. The media rights to NBA games are up after the 2024-2025 season, and the tournament could make the NBA’s television rights more lucrative to potential networks and streaming bidders. The tournament runs from Nov. 3 to Dec. 9 and is built into the league’s regular season schedule — not its end-of-year playoffs. The tournament has a group stage and then a knockout round, which includes the semifinals and the final played in Las Vegas. The prize for winning the tournament: Each player on the winning team receives $500,000. To add intrigue to the tournament, each of the 30 NBA teams has a distinct court design and jersey for games. The new designs eschew the NBA’s traditional hardwood floors. And the idea is apparently working. Games in November averaged 1.48 million viewers across ESPN and TNT, up 19% from the comparable Tuesday and Friday night games in November of last year, according to Sports Business Journal, an industry publication. ESPN averaged 1.52 million viewers, up 20% from its Friday night games last November. TNT averaged 1.43 million viewers, up 16% from its Tuesday night games last November. (TNT and CNN are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.) The NBA’s strategy behind the colorful court designs was to attract attention — even if some of the reaction to the courts has been negative. “We wanted the In-Season Tournament games to jump off the screen and immediately grab fans’ attention and felt like the bold colors of the courts accomplished that,” Christopher Arena, senior vice president and head of on-court brand partnerships at the NBA, said in an email. The reaction to the colorful courts has been mixed. To name a few descriptions: “Hideous,” “horrifying” and “clown show.” “Not a fan of the courts, although it was a brilliant marketing idea,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. (Cuban plans to sell his majority stake in the Mavericks.) The NBA in-season tournament is the latest example of sports leagues adapting to try to add excitment in an increasingly competitive media environment. MLB changed its rules last year to speed up the games, for example, while the NFL is playing more games in Europe and streaming on Nickelodeon to draw younger fans.