Basketball Australia today releases the findings of the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC) report into the Optimal Competition Model for the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). Authored by Suiko Consulting’s Eugenie Buckley, the review was undertaken to secure the financial stability of the competition and its clubs.
“We have taken our time to work through the 53 recommendations of this Review and have developed our internal management responses to ensure that we deliver against each these. If we truly have the second or third best women’s league in the world, then we should run it accordingly. The ASC Suiko Review provide us with a roadmap to deliver a strong healthy League and we intend to deliver on this model. This won’t be a report that sits in the draw,” Moore said
Basketball Australia is also able to announce that Paul Maley will commence as General Manager WNBL & Competitions in late April. Maley, a former NBL player and championship winner with the North Melbourne Giants, is a Yale graduate and brings considerable management experience to the role.
“The appointment of a General Manager for the WNBL was a key recommendation of the Review and while the role will encompass the management of the SEABL, national wheelchair leagues and the Australian Junior Championships, its primary focus is delivering the Optimal Competition Model. We are excited to bring Paul’s wealth of knowledge to Basketball Australia,” Moore added.
It’s good news for the WNBL, a week after celebrating the achievements of the 2014-15 season which saw an average increase of 27% in game attendances across 17 rounds of regular competition. The WNBL is Australia’s longest-running elite female national competition, having just completed its 35th consecutive season.
Among the report’s key recommendations:
- Basketball Australia’s Strategic Plan 2014-2018 needs to specifically identify the WNBL, its purpose and how it can be used as a platform to drive the attainment of participation, high performance and promotional objectives
- The WNBL should be the pinnacle of the national high performance pathway in Australia
- Basketball Australia and WNBL Clubs undertake a detailed annual review to assess team performance, financial viability, marketing support and compliance with minimum standards and regulations
There are several recommendations, including a move to winter and a shorter season, that have been referred to a Working Party comprising representatives from the WNBL Clubs, the WNBL Commission and its players. The first meeting of the Working Party is set for next week.
“The Australian Sports Commission is committed to helping sports provide the best opportunities for their female participants and supporting Basketball Australia with the WNBL review was an important project in a changing landscape,” said ASC chief executive Simon Hollingsworth.
“The ASC will continue to support Basketball Australia in implementing the review and is also working with the sport to take advantage of the opportunities that a product and brand as strong as the WNBL can open up. Visiting players often comment on the depth of the playing rosters and the quality of the competition. The fact the competition has a vibrant regional footprint is also a strength.”
Report author Eugenie Buckley said there was no doubt that with appropriate resourcing, the WNBL can be a global leader in women’s sport.
“The optimal competition model places the league as the pinnacle of the elite player pathway in Australia, connects with the thriving grassroots basketball community and delivers best practice governance structures,” explained Buckley. “These foundations provide the platform to drive growth and commercial outcomes.”
**Please note that commercially sensitive information has been removed from the report.