Basketball: NBL to unveil three year plan

Alex Pledger of the Breakers. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Alex Pledger of the Breakers. Photo / Sarah Ivey

New administrators of the National Basketball League (NBL) are preparing to unveil an ambitious three-year plan aimed at expanding and revitalising the competition.

The NBL is expected to be relaunched in around two weeks, with control back in the hands of club owners after a de-merger with Basketball Australia (BA) is completed, when deals are finalised with media partners who are still contracted to BA.

It'll be another fresh start for the NBL which has a chequered history, having shed many clubs since its inception in the late 1970s to be down to an equal all-time low of eight teams last season, when dominated by the New Zealand Breakers and Perth Wildcats.

Officials remain optimistic after encouraging attendance and TV figures last season.

The 2013-14 NBL season, expected to start in October, is set to proceed with the same eight clubs as last season, including Townsville, whose NBL future became clouded after the previous owners sought to hand back their licence to BA following heavy losses.

Now a community-run club, the Townsville Crocodiles will be officially confirmed as participants once the de-merger has taken place.

Under the new structure, clubs will be shareholders in the NBL and will have majority voting rights while there will also be private equity in the competition.

"We will have a three-year plan," interim NBL CEO Steve Dunn told AAP.

"Any major changes however to things like rules, season formats, will probably have to wait until 2014-15 because of current contractual arrangements, plus the shortness of time.

"We are looking at the next three years to build clubs' memberships, TV viewerships and game-day audiences.

"We have already started tabling ideas that are very exciting to drive this forward."

Among the proposed changes are the addition of extra clubs, with Brisbane and a second Melbourne side among the contenders to make up a potential 10-team competition.

"We believe that the new NBL structure will make expansion easier to achieve and should allow the likes of a Brisbane team or whoever else we decide to be in the competition come 2014-15 (season)," Dunn said.

"The main reason for the de-merger is to have more control over the commercial operations to ensure that current clubs are sustainable and we can build more growth in terms of new teams and so that additional revenue can be generated by the NBL which will actually go back into the clubs that need it."

While criteria will be different to those laid down by BA, Dunn said clubs would still have to provide some kind of financial guarantee.

BA will still play a supporting role, providing referees.

-AAP

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