The NBL is to become the marketing and commercial arm of Basketball Australia in a move based on the lucrative model used in the United States.
After years of co-existing uncomfortably, BA and the NBL have signed an agreement they say will capitalise on the growth of basketball at all levels in Australia and open the door for a significantly greater profile.
NBL chief executive Jeremy Loeliger told AAP it made no sense for the two bodies to chase the same sponsorship dollars, particularly with both entering what he termed a “golden era”.
The NBL’s crowd and broadcasting numbers hit record highs last season while BA can boast record youth participation numbers and national senior and junior teams that are all ranked inside the world’s top-10.
A Boomers team featuring a swag of NBA stars are also poised to enter the public sphere, at the looming World Cup and next year’s Olympics.
Negotiations between the NBL and BA focused on the success of an identical relationship between the NBA and USA Basketball.
“They didn’t want two organisations out in the market trying to sell basketball, either” Loeliger said.
“All you end up doing is forcing one another’s prices down and not being able to offer anyone a complete package.
“The US is the strongest basketball economy in the world so we’ll take another leaf out of their book and use it in Australia. Right now seems the perfect time to do it.”
Loeliger stressed BA will continue to own all of the same assets, including its national teams.
“Let them operate those really vital functions of the sport without having to worry all the time about how they’re funded,” he said.
“Their performances are driving their profile at the moment but the intention is that the WNBL, the Opals and the Boomers get a significant lift in their profile.”