NBL: Dead?

by Ryne Nelson

Australia’s “National” Basketball League is on the verge of collapse after one of its strongest clubs, Melbourne Tigers, declared it would not play next season.

Once a popular sport during the early to mid-90s, only six small market teams have lodged applications by Monday’s deadline. Struggling with a lack of steady commercial interest and attendance, especially with the omission of a suitable a TV broadcast deal and other media support, basketball in Australia has been in turmoil for a while. Without teams in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, it’s difficult to imagine a new league starting any time soon.

The news was reported on Fox Sports. Steve Carfino commented on the harrowing situation:

“If you look at everything that the league has to offer it is a national competition and therefore the three major cities aren’t in, that’s a huge blow,” Carfino said.

“The successful teams can’t make money or aren’t happy with the model, or whatever it may be. There are a lot of reasons I have read, but the team that has won the most recent championship, when they don’t come back it doesn’t look great for the league.

“If it has ever looked so dismal or dark or any adjective you can think of – it has been like Black Sunday, today was a terrible day.

Is this the demise of national basketball competition in Australia? In the scheme of things, it shouldn’t be. Reform needs to happen and the NBL. Basketball Australia should take a season off to excruciatingly plan and fully relaunch a league with a clear vision for the future.

Hat-tip to Hursty for the news.