New league underpins future of basketball

New league underpins future of basketball

Basketball Australia (BA) took another vital step in its reform agenda to secure a viable future for the sport today by releasing

Basketball Australia (BA) took another vital step in its reform agenda to secure a viable future for the sport today by releasing an Expression of Interest (EOI) to compete in the new national elite men's basketball competition which will replace the National Basketball League next season.

The sport's governing body will test the market by calling for submissions from parties interested in gaining a licence to enter a team in the new competition.

Developed collaboratively between Basketball Australia and NBL club representatives, the release of the criteria and EOI documentation is a key step in basketball's reform process, which kicked into high gear on 8 November 2008 with a unanimous vote from NBL and Basketball Australia to bring the governance of the sport under the control of a new, single, independent national body.

"An opportunity now exists to become a part of that new league and play a leading role in the return of basketball as a premier sport in Australia," said Mr. Scott Derwin, Chief Executive of Basketball Australia. "While we are under no illusions of being able to deliver a quick fix to the previous NBL competition, we are confident that with steady, commercially responsible and professional management we will be able to incrementally deliver the significant benefits associated with this dynamic sport."

The new 2009/10 season will commence in October 2009, and will comprise at least eight clubs, depending on the strength and suitability of the applications submitted. Clubs will be notified in March 2009 of their inclusion.

"All current NBL clubs will be given the opportunity to obtain a license to field a team in the new league providing they meet all criteria for admission," said Mr. Derwin. "The new criteria sets out specific minimum compliance in terms of working capital and financial guarantees which have been set to a commercially viable level to ensure a stable and sustainable league, now and into the future."

While Derwin confirmed the Board of Basketball Australia would consider partially compliant submissions from existing NBL teams and other interested parties, he stated that licenses would be granted based on the merits and justification provided. "The ultimate inclusion of each club must be in the commercial interests and long term financial viability of the sport," he said.

A license to operate a new club will incur a fee of $1,000,000. Current NBL clubs who successfully meet the criteria, including a financial guarantee, will be granted a licence to participate in the new league without the requirement to pay this fee.

Basketball Australia will manage the new competition and be responsible for league-wide operational issues such as fixturing and marketing.

"It is anticipated that the revenue for the new league will come from broadcasting partnerships, including new media, national sponsorship and merchandise agreements, as well as revenue from Finals games and any non-competition matches," said Mr. Derwin. "Negotiations for broadcast rights for the new league are well advanced and are a clear indication of the commercial benefits of merging into a single, unified body."

"A key component of the reform of the sport is connecting and engaging the growing basketball participation base with the league and the national men's (Boomers) team," said Mr. Derwin. "Clubs will be required to work closely with state and local associations to achieve this aim."

Through the development of the new league, Basketball Australia plans to provide a career path for elite players, coaches and officials; showcase Australia's elite male basketballers; enhance professionalism at club level; improve facilities for basketball and relevant stakeholders; improve links between clubs and local communities; and strengthen the brand and image of basketball throughout Australia.