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Basketball Australia and NBL to explore de-merger
Basketball Australia and the National Basketball League have agreed to explore a de-merger - with NBL Clubs looking to resume effective commercial and operational control of the League for the 2013/14 season.
Earlier this year, Basketball Australia flagged 'Returning the League' - transferring the management and governance of the NBL to Clubs - as one of four possible outcomes of the NBL White Paper.
As part of the NBL White Paper consultation process, NBL Clubs have identified 'Returning the League' as their desired option, and Basketball Australia has agreed to work with Clubs to determine the best path forward in pursuing a possible de-merger.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Kristina Keneally explained "in 2008, Basketball Australia took on the governance and management of the NBL at a critical time, when attendances were in significant decline and the League was not on free-to-air television."
Keneally said Basketball Australia had developed a Strategic Plan for the NBL which drove significant progress in many areas, including:
• The League being back on free-to-air with Network Ten;
• Fans enjoying for the first time in the League's history access to every game live and on-demand through the NBL.TV digital platform;
• The Sydney Kings returning to the competition, filling what had been a vacancy in a major metropolitan market;
• Game attendance increasing by an average of 24% during the 2012/13 season alone;
• NBL per game average audience are up 59% across Network Ten during the 2012/13 season alone; and
• Game attendance and TV viewership statistics poised for a fourth consecutive year of growth.
She added "however, Basketball Australia introduced the NBL White Paper earlier this year recognising that the status quo was not an option for the League; that further growth and change is required to achieve financial sustainability for the NBL.
"Basketball Australia also acknowledges that the future of the NBL should in many respects be determined and driven by those who are financially supporting it.
"As we've previously indicated, it is our intention to support a viable NBL into the 2013/14 season, and we are working collaboratively with NBL Clubs to that end.
"Quite simply, Basketball Australia sees a men's national competition as integral to the game, and we want the NBL to succeed.
"Importantly, we want to work with NBL Clubs to explore the practical implications of a de-merger, and if we decide to proceed, to provide the leadership and transition to commercial and operational control conducive to the League's future success and viability.
"We are making this issue public at this stage to allow the Clubs to speak with sponsors and broadcast partners; but I do need to emphasise that the Board of BA has not made a final decision yet."
Scott Stavretis - representing the NBL Clubs - acknowledged Basketball Australia's stewardship of the League since 2008.
Stavretis stated "Basketball Australia has worked hard to boost viewership and attendance numbers since it took on management of the NBL in 2008 and we have seen those numbers grow in recent years.
"It's particularly important to acknowledge the White Paper process here, which has allowed serious and considered conversations about the future viability of the NBL to take place.
"In the coming weeks, the NBL Clubs intend to work closely with Basketball Australia to explore what a possible de-merger would involve, and to ensure that any potential de-merger is undertaken in the most constructive way possible."
If a de-merger is undertaken, the National Basketball League will continue to be sanctioned by Basketball Australia, as is a requirement under FIBA rules.
Basketball Australia has initiated the legal work required to explore a de-merger and is in the process of providing further advice to Clubs on its practical implications.
14th March 2013 - Basketball consulting clubs on NBL growth strategy
26th November 2012 - Basketball Australia calls for retention of ‘No School No Play’ program
2nd October 2012 - Keneally restructures Basketball Australia
10th September 2012 - NBL and WNBL come together for Australian first
3rd May 2012 - NBL finals crowds experience dramatic rise
20th January 2012 - Bumper crowds drive NBL growth
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