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NBL announces pre-season Tasmanian tournament to test 10th NBL franchise potential

NBL announces pre-season Tasmanian tournament to test 10th NBL franchise potential
July 12, 2019

The National Basketball League (NBL) has announced a partnership with the Tasmanian Government to host a four-day pre-season tournament that could be the first step towards Tasmania claiming a 10th NBL franchise.

The $300,000 investment from the Tasmanian Government has allowed NBL Owner and Executive Chairman, Larry Kestelman, to spread the games across Tasmania, giving fans an opportunity to meet players as part of a range of community activities around the state.

The move is apart of Kestleman’s plans to test out interest in Tasmania again having a team in the NBL competition for the first time since the licence of the now-defunct Hobart Tassie Devils was revoked in 1996 over financial issues.

Announcing the tournament on the new www.nbltas.com.au website, Kestelman stated "we encourage every Tasmanian to register their support there because we need as much support to make it happen.

“Tasmania is a great sporting state and we want basketball to be its number one sport, that’s why we’ve expressed a strong interest in establishing a 10th NBL team in Tasmania that will represent the whole state and we think the NBL Blitz is a great opportunity to showcase the league.

“My timeline was to try and make it happen – not for this coming season, but the following.

“So that’s a pretty tough timeline and that’s the only thing that I am working on now, but I think that will be challenging as knowing how much work is needed.”

Justin Hickey, the owner of the Southern Huskies, had previously pushed for a Tasmanian-based team to enter the NBL, but after a South East Melbourne Phoenix bid was preferred, the Huskies signed a five-year deal to join the New Zealand league until further NBL expansion.

Kestelman is currently negotiating a deal with Glenorchy City Council to buy the Derwent Entertainment Centre.

He made the announcement with Tasmanian acting Premier and Minister for Sport and Recreation, Jeremy Rockliff and Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze yesterday in Hobart.

The pre-season tournament will be held from 19th to 22nd September.

Images: Larry Kestelman and basketball legend Andrew Gaze at yesterday's launch (top) and the pair address media with Tasmanian Minister for Sport and Recreation, Jeremy Rockliff (below).

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