Basketball: Tauranga pushing for NBL team

By Dale Budge

Wellington Saints players during the 2016 NBL. Photo / Photosport
Wellington Saints players during the 2016 NBL. Photo / Photosport

Tauranga could be about to get a National Basketball League franchise with Tauranga City Basketball set to apply for a spot in the league.

The NBL, which experienced a terrific season in 2016, is considering a number of potential new bids for the 2017 season with any proposals to join the existing seven franchises needing to be submitted next week for consideration.

Tauranga City Basketball General Manager Mark Rogers says the time frame has been very tight and it will be touch and go whether they can tick off all the requirements before next week's deadline but if 2017 is an option they will be all in for 2018.

"We have been doing a fair bit of work to see whether we can meet the deadline but it will be probably down to the wire whether we submit a bid or not for 2017," Rogers tells herald.co.nz.

"We are very keen to get in as soon as we can. We think the New Zealand Basketball League is a great step in the player pathway and it would be great for our local players to have a team for them to compete in at that level but we have to make sure that our franchise would be sustainable so that we can meet all the targets we have and the league has.

"There is quite an extensive list of requirements for the league. There are things like facilities, which we definitely tick the box for. Obviously the budget is an issue for everybody in terms of making sure the franchise is sustainable financially and we have to make sure the playing roster is competitive because you have to make sure you are at the right level for that league.

"Everything is quite rushed because of the time frames - we are working through that at the moment."

While Tauranga City Basketball is heading up the bid on their own there are no set plans for the team to be solely from the Tauranga region rather than represent a wider Bay of Plenty focus.

"To be honest a lot of that would depend on a naming right sponsor and what they might want," Rogers explains.

"Nothing is set in stone."

The new proposed team would play at the ASB Arena in Mt Maunganui and Rogers says there is a clear appetite for the sport in the area.

"We had the Breakers here on Tuesday and had a great crowd for that. The local support for basketball is definitely there."

Rogers says the board has meetings today and over the weekend to decide whether to go for 2017 inclusion or wait for 2018.

"If we go in we want to do it properly. We have seen teams fall over in our league and in the Australian league. It is about making sure what we put on the floor will deliver what we want.

"We have to be adding value to the league rather than bringing anything down."

- NZ Herald

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