ANDREW MATHIESON THE ADVOCATE Plans for a Tasmanian NBL team to debut ahead of the 2021-22 campaign could be held off “possibly” a further 12 months behind schedule.
Basketball Tasmania chief executive Chris McCoy said a delay would not be the worst scenario to happen to escape the lingering impacts of this year’s coronavirus outbreak.
This view has been built on the back of a proposal from Australian basketball to establish a taskforce to tackle the challenges from its grassroots to elite competitions.
The comprehensive plan will include finding the best way to restart the game when virus cases ease after already cancelling the NBL1 season.
NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman pointed out the fact revenue was not driven by broadcast rights like other sports but participation that delivered bums on seats at NBL games.
So McCoy admitted it may take one more year for the NBL to recover financially enough before bringing in a 10th side from Tasmania.
“It could now delay things a year,” McCoy said. “Hopefully not – hopefully we’ll still be on track. It really depends on how long we’re in the lockdown phase. “While there is some light at the end of the end of the tunnel with the flattening of the curve, there’s still no guarantee that lock downs will be eased in the near term or there is no guarantees of a second wave. We’re certainly very mindful of that.
“So, we’re still optimistic of the NBL team being ready for 2021-22, however, if it was delayed 12 months that would be fine as well by us.”
Under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the sport has come to standstill after attracting more than one million fans to games across not only the NBL and WNBL, but the NBL1, and community and grassroots leagues around Australia.
McCoy felt the taskforce to consult all areas of basketball to develop a recovery program was a “good initiative”.
He said a long-term plan would then be dependent on government regulations that if lifted could allow for small group training from two and 10 people or local games for 10 to 50 to be in attendance.
“It’s important the whole of the sport is aligned and working together on getting the messaging out there once we get government restrictions eased,” McCoy said.