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NBL looks to expand Australian basketball in Asia
Larry Kestelman is looking to learn from past lessons to expand the revamped National Basketball League (NBL) in Asia.
Kestelman, who bought control of the NBL in June, has already secured a five year TV deal, a host of new sponsors and confirmed that the Brisbane Bullets will return to the competition next season.
However, mindful of East Asian nations keen for sporting content, Kestelman is looking for the NBL to expand in neighbouring countries.
Kestelman recently told the ABC, “we've already started that process, we've reached out to China and contacts in the Philippines.
“We're open for business as far as we're concerned in Asia, we'll go through a process to make sure that's done in a credible and an approved way through the leagues and associations there."
The NBL tried to expand into Asia in 2006, but the Singapore Slingers experiment ended when they withdrew from the competition in 2008.
Kestelman continued “we actually own through FIBA one more licence that used to be used in Singapore that we'll be looking for the right partner to bring in a team from overseas.
"That's our plan to make sure at least one team plays from the Asian category. Even as early as next year we'll look to invite players from that region, be it China, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia. We'll open the door and actually invite more players to come participate in our league.
"Our long term vision and plan is to definitely play both during regular season and in the off-season more and more games and interact with our Asian partners."
The Slingers cited an unanticipated rise in travel costs when they left the league but the NBL's new management says it won't be an issue.
Kestelman added “the costs are not that dramatic when you think about how close we are and the game of basketball is hugely popular, especially in places like the Philippines and China.
"In the Philippines it's the number one sport and in China its potentially soccer and basketball.
"So the corporate dollar as long as it's done in a professional way and presented in a way people can enjoy it and participate commercially it stacks up very, very easily.
"All business across Australia are working with Asia already and costs are not a constraint so I don't think basketball will be any different."
25th July 2015 - LARRY KESTELMAN AIMS TO LEAD NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE REJUVENATION
2nd May 2013 - BASKETBALL AUSTRALIA AND NBL TO EXPLORE DE-MERGER
19th February 2013 - NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TO LAUNCH BASKETBALL THEMED BUILDING IN CHINA
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