Key priorities addressed in the report are a major restructure of the basketball administration; re-branding and aggressively promoting the sport: developing strong revenue streams from corporate and media partnerships; increasing the connection between community and elite competitions and national teams; and significant expansion and investment in the national basketball program.
“While commissioned to identify the critical issues facing basketball in Australia, the review has also served to reinforce the underlying strengths of the sport which include a strong participation base, talented athlete programs, a large number of elite players of international quality, strong female participation and passionate, untapped public support,” said chairman of the Interim Board, Mr. David Thodey.
“Basketball has a bright future in Australia, and requires renewed focus, commitment, and support to ensure the right foundations are set for the next decade.
“The independent review provides a unique opportunity to get it right - to ensure every facet of the game is functioning optimally - so we can strengthen the position of basketball as a key sport in Australia,” said Mr. Thodey.
The review recommends the development of an elite men’s competition to replace the current NBL for season 2009/10 with a revised format commercially attractive to broadcasters and business partners, and working with FIBA (International Basketball Federation) to create and participate in an Asian Club Championship from 2010.
“This is definitely not a short-term strategy,” said Mr. Thodey. “We aim to deliver an improved governance and management structure, and a sustainable business plan, that will ensure significant commercial and community benefits for basketball in Australia.
“There is strong support for basketball in this country, but there is no doubt that a substantial effort is required to ensure its successful future.”
Internationally, Australia is currently ranked the number two basketball nation in the FIBA global rankings, while locally, basketball has never been stronger, with more than 650,000 people participating in the sport and numbers continuing to grow.
“If the sport is to maximise these assets, it needs to generate increased revenue. This should be possible through the adoption of an independent governing body capable of making decisions in the best interest of the sport.”
Mark Peters, interim board member and CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, stated that an independent governing body would strengthen the national approach to the development of the game.
“For revenue purposes, the sport needs a vibrant NBL and WNBL and the Boomers and Opals playing regularly in Australia.
“The key initiatives outlined in the review will assist in raising the profile of the game and in turn generate the significant media and sponsorship revenues currently lacking,” said Mr. Peters.
The review recommends aggressively pursuing commercial, government and non-traditional revenue lines to drive growth and ensure a profitable business. A commitment to developing sound commercial strategies, strong financial management and measurable outcomes are critical elements and will ultimately decide the success of reform.
As part of the plan to reform the sport, Basketball Australia and the NBL have previously decided to merge. The decision to move to a single unified body stems from a two-stage review of the sport commissioned more than 15 months ago by Basketball Australia, the NBL and the Australian Sports Commission.
With the second stage of the review now complete, the interim board will provide details of the report to all Basketball Australia and NBL stakeholders before putting its recommendations to a vote on 11 October.