Further push into Asia high on agenda at NBA meet
Full Court Press
A FURTHER push into Asia seems inevitable, but making sure it is done properly when it happens was a high priority discussion at the National Basketball League’s chief executives meeting earlier this week.
At the quarterly conference, the league’s 12 CEOs met at Sydney’s Crown Plaza at Darling Harbour to discuss various issues concerning the NBL.
Sponsorship, fan support, player development and the future direction of the professional side of the sport, including travel, accommodation and even team clothing were talked over during the two days. But with Singapore’s inclusion in the NBL this season, discussion also focused on the potential of further Asian-based teams being included in an expanded competition in the future.
While there are no set dates at this stage, and it may indeed be many years away, the league’s bosses have long professed an interest in moving into Asia, so further expansion is certainly not out of the question.
However, if or when it does occur, Townsville Crocodiles chief executive Ian Smythe said club CEOs agreed mistakes made upon the Slingers’addition to the NBL must be learnt from.
After the demise of the Hunter franchise during the past off-season, a Singapore ownership group, headed by Bob Turner, bought out the licence and officially introduced the Slingers to the league in March.
It left the organisers with less than six months to put together a team, gain financial support and create community awareness about the club.
As a result the Slingers have had a slow start to their existence on most fronts and while the general consensus around the league is that the club’s potential is limitless, it is also accepted that further preparation time would have been greatly beneficial.
‘‘I think we put a lot of pressure on the franchise owner and a lot of pressure on getting the whole thing up and running,’’ Smythe said.
‘‘Eighteen months i s about the minimum time that you really need to establish yourself in a new centre like Singapore, to get it up and running.
‘‘You need to develop relationships with the media, sponsors, the community and we didn’t give Singapore enough time, so we won’t make that same mistake again and put the pressure on them.
‘‘What we’ll do is we’ll make sure that if we do make a decision about another team that we will give them sufficient time to establish a relationship that we all had the benefit of.’’
Working on a a centralised model of the NBL, thus promoting a more professional appearance comparable to the NRL, AFL and A-League, was also discussed.
Smythe said that meant each home court potentially taking on a similar appearance and even team uniforms bearing a resemblance to one another, so that each could instantly be associated with the NBL.
However he said such proposals could be a number of seasons away before coming to fruition.