Years ago

NBL in Trouble?

Is anyone else worried about the NBL? Adelaide, Sydney and the Crocs all look like they are in a bit of financial trouble. Perth is the only club keeping the average crowd figures up. Cairns have had their crowds drop from last season. Adelaide can't get decent crowds with a great roster, they had better crowds last year. Sydney's crowds have dropped after having two seasons in the NBL. It will be interesting to see how Sydney will go next year since they are moving to a new venue.

There are some clubs that are looking good. Perth- because they have had massive crowds at Perth Arena and Tigers have some good crowds at Hisence Arena.

Wollongong and NZ are looking stable.

What are your thoughts on the NBL and its clubs?

Topic #30113 | Report this topic

Years ago

Image issues are huge.

Need to become "fresh" & "hip" and connect with early adopters in the market = ie. young adults.

Not happening at the moment. Leagues not taking advantage of all the free marketing tools available in the 21st century, but crying about lack of marketing budget.

Reply #390234 | Report this post

Years ago

League should basically just let the Perth Wildcats front office run the whole NBL...

Reply #390235 | Report this post

Years ago

Agreed mick

Reply #390240 | Report this post

Years ago

Agreed Mick.

Wildcats are Pushing 8,000 members.. Not close to the 10K target but having double the amount of members than most teams get total to a game must say something about the way the club is being run.

They have increased the membership numbers by more than double in a season. Perth Arena generated some interest but most of this would be casual fans which would go to an odd game or two not sign up for memberships.

There is still advertising up around the city, in the train station & on the back of buses etc.

Reply #390244 | Report this post

Wildcat Fan  
Years ago

The NBL is "always in trouble". Clubs have always been financially on the verge of folding and its usually sponsors, their owner(s), or a bit of extra crowd support that keeps them alive each year.

When a club has a dip in crowd support, then all of a sudden they are about to fold. Unfortunately that does happen sometimes. But at the same time, crowds and sponsors have been hovering around the same levels for a while now and the NBL is still hanging in there - just.

Agree with Mick that the Wildcats office should be running the NBL! On Facebook, I have the Wildcats and Dockers listed as favourite sports teams - yet the Wildcats are constantly active. The Dockers on the other hand barely post anything up. That shows the difference between a club actively promoting itself - because it has to - compared to an AFL club that really doesnt need to do anything. All of a sudden, the Wildcats are a big club again in Perth, and everybody is noticing it. Not saying FB is the reason of course, but its been a noticeable part in it.

All the other NBL clubs need to be a lot more active with the free marketing services available.

Reply #390247 | Report this post

Years ago

I agree that the Wildcats are doing a great job, but it would be interesting to see how they would go with the same budget in a tougher market like Sydney as I assume that they would be two quite different challenges...

Reply #390250 | Report this post

SEAL Watcher  
Years ago

SEABL does a much better job of promoting itself than the NBL

Reply #390252 | Report this post

Years ago

NBL is a big deal in NZ since the Breakers won their first title. They do news stories from Atlas Place the day before game day most weeks along with news items on all their results. Financially they are fine. Can't speak about any other clubs

Reply #390253 | Report this post

Years ago

Adelaide's attendance is down because all their home games are on Sunday afternoon.

Reply #390256 | Report this post

Years ago

I think many fans not liking the coach and dropping games we shouldnt doesnt help the 36ers crowd numbers, we like many clubs lack that crowd pulling player like Maher, Farley, Hodge, KB, who would add excitement to the game as well as help there team win, Hodge in his first stint is a good example he almost single handedly doubled the crowd for the end of Smyths last season.

I think clubs should recruit a swing man who can score and play with flair each season, they usually help you win, if you pick well, and help boost the crowd by entertaining them. Id always recruit import athletic sg/sf and either a Jackson type PG or a scoring combo guard ala Deleon, depending on what Aussie guards you have and use mostly Aussie bigs, import bigs seem more hit and miss to me as the good ones would be signed to big dollars elsewhere as there are fewer people in the world at say 6'8 plus, so therefore they are rarer and the good ones get snapped up, more quality guards/sfs fall through the cracks in the big leagues and end up in the NBL. The bigs you get in the NBL are either quite small but play hard, or are good on offense but have huge wholes in there defensive/allround game. Mostly if a team is built around one of these types of bigs as there star, they seem to struggle, where a gun pg or sg/sf ie Jackson or Farley type can carry you to playoffs/titles.

We have some good sg/sf's in the league but not that many, and im pretty sure you can get a decent import for less than a 100k given d-leaguers get around 30k, and i have read guys like Deleon, Ervin were not on big bucks in there first stint.

Imagine if the 36ers replaced say Weigh with a scoring SF in the Farley/Ere mould, nothing against Weigh, but im guessing he is on 100k+ and im confident you could get a fairly decent/entertaining import for that, im sure those guys were not on much more than that, atleast in there first season, and they would score closer to 20 ppg and help the team win, be more entertaning and boost the crowds so everyone wins.

Just a couple of subtle changes to the 36ers roster could make them far more entertaining and successful, if points allow keep Weigh off the bench and drop say Vasiljavic or Crosswell and grab a cheap import scoring swingman, even give Josh Pace a go from NZBL, if points dont allow let Weigh go and replace him with a more expensive import sg/sf in the Farley mould.

Give Massingale some minutes at the sg and the license to shoot/score. Or if he isnt upto it get a scoring import sg who is.

Slide Gibson over to play the bulk of his mins at PG alongside CJ, nothing against Cadee i just reckon Gibson is the best PG and better suited to PG than SG.

Would allow us to score more, and Gibson and Creek can take the defensive assingments.

Also play a more free sort of Smyth-like offense to keep it entertaining and the scores high,

To me that would make us instantly better and more entertaining.

(the NBL needs to clean up some of the defense up the court alot of pushing/slapping is being got away with, by many of the 'defensive' guys in the league, this would allow more flow on offense and in the game.)

Reply #390262 | Report this post

Years ago

The 36ers' crowds would be fine if they hadn't had a slump of form and a couple of ownership scares over the years. Obviously those are major things, but they've been the difference between the current position and that of Perth.

If we'd brought in Bevo for Smyth as was planned at one point, even despite ownership changes, I think we'd be in a completely different position. The crowds hadn't dropped away horrifically after the later Smyth years and could've been resurrected with a few improved seasons.

Amazing how one "little" decision can change so much.

Reply #390265 | Report this post

Years ago

I know they have site loads of money in comparison, but look at how well the NBA promote not just their super stars and their games, but the NBA CARES program and how they interact and connect with their local communities and the kids!

Here in Aus we have a junior sport that has the highest participation rate, above all others...

Basketball is played by boys and girls, why isn't the NBL focusing attention on the real growth of the sport, grass roots.....?

This is where the difference between success and failure lies, identify your potential audience now and in the future and grab their attention before it is too late, please!

Reply #390267 | Report this post

Crowds are a real issue for the 36ers right now

If they want to be able to keep playing at the Brett Maher Court under a new owner, then crowds or more specifically revenue, need to increase

Reply #390268 | Report this post

Years ago

Nbl is lacking imports that can dunk and want the ball to win games! Look at the imports now compared when the nbl was the no 1 sport!! Alley oop show at tiger land, run and stun in perth! Then had loggins, bolden, rose the d train, bolden, rucker list is endless! Perth for 1 havnt got any 1 to go ape shit for! Seen may be 5 dunks in the past 5yrs! Not racist here but u need the black imports they are born 2 entertain!!

Reply #390271 | Report this post

Years ago

Crowds - Perth way up, Melbourne, New Zealand & Wollongong well up. Sydney, Townsville and Cairns slightly down, Adelaide well down. League overall well up, without Perth slightly up.

NBL not in trouble, but Adelaide?

Reply #390273 | Report this post

Years ago

don't underestimate the marketing power of an exciting import

Reply #390275 | Report this post

Marcus Camby  
Years ago

Someone tell Seth Scott, Will Hudson and Kevin Leeesh to bugger off....they ain't 'black' enough to entertain us.

Reply #390276 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

Marketing is the key. I would love to see how the Sixers could learn from the Wildcats.

Reply #390277 | Report this post

Years ago

I like Kevin Lisch for example, but if i had the choice to watch Lisch in his prime or a Farley/Rose/Grace/Brooks/Copeland in there prime its the Farley type every time, nothing to do with Race they are just more athletic/exciting to watch and imo they are better players, nothing against Lisch just wish there were more imports like Farley, Rose, etc around the league.

Reply #390279 | Report this post

Years ago

Media presence is a key part to marketing

Reply #390280 | Report this post

Camel 31  
Years ago

Bear - the new BA CEO was on TV , she said they'll do on line registrations , so they can email every basketballer. Sounds pretty good.

Reply #390281 | Report this post

Years ago

A few notes of different aspects.
A:I heard from a well known Coach he would rather watch Under 18's, their games are terrific.Are we too moderate to allow a coach to burst a neck vein and break a white board ? Wheres the passion from the bench and team ?
B:The Sunday midday games are pathetic.Im all Saturday night spent out and then the catering is expensive(yeh yeh Im a tight arse)
C:At the front counter of the Junior stadiums are dumped pamphlets for 36ers-typical 70's effort with no relevance to todays internet savvy hyperbole for info .Where are the Luke's and Weighs to come and see the kids and throw some freebies around ?Bring the Dancers too !
One stadium has its BASA info board outside up-ended in the dirt for weeks now and "Oh-Dear" cant promote Bball outside on the walls .
D:Ive heard one radio station give 36ers interviews last year and I went over to a different station ,this year.Do people ring up and press the players -nup
E: No link up to the District teams

Reply #390282 | Report this post

Camel 31  
Years ago

They did have the 36ers in the radio studio last 2 seasons , but insufficient callers.
'Julius Hodge' the biggest media here.

Reply #390284 | Report this post

Years ago

Wait til we have a Saturday night game surely crowds will pickup,next time sixers have Sunday games later time slot say about 5-6pm,the reason being the sixers opted for Sunday games so it wouldn't interfere with District games.

I hate 130pm time slot as I finish work and have to rush there to the game,which is pathetic ,more Saturday /Sunday night games and Friday games during school holidays to keep your bank balance happy.

Reply #390285 | Report this post

Years ago

The NBL's lack of effective communication and promotion to the general public hurts. A burst of hype about the NEW season soon fizzles.

There are so many cogs that just don't work together at every level the product seems to need a reboot every year.

The view (still often said in media) is that it is an American sport transplanted here struggling for recognition.

It's a moot point but the NBL needed to tweak things during the 90's boom (TV timeouts for one) to move ahead of AFL/NRL - which have followed this US model.

The crazy thing is the product itself is pretty good, and definately marketable. But the disconnect between NBL-Nationals-State-Local will see things continue to falter for a long time yet.

Reply #390288 | Report this post

Years ago

Just adding to the marketing comments above. I posted this "rant" on the NBL facebook a couple of weeks back.

Link > https://www.facebook.com/TheNBL/posts/467718269946734


If a casual basketball fan jumped onto this page over the weekend they could be excused for thinking it was off-season.

Not one post about upcoming games since an all encompassing post on Friday.

Not one post with progress & full time scores.

It's disappointing that unofficial sites like And The Foul.net put in more effort to keep fans informed than the official social media presence.

Some clubs are doing a great job, but none of it is being promoted by the league. Is it because not all clubs aren't as strong in this realm? Perhaps their needs to be a Salary Cap place on this too to even it out.

I might be biased, but i think the stuff on the Wollongong Hawks page is pretty good & timely.

Perth, Melbourne and Townsville are extremely active with good content the NBL could easily be sharing to the wider audience. Cairns are doing good stuff with the Stiendl rookie blog and the 2nd coming of Pull the Trigger.

How many general facebook users know you can create a list to keep track of all teams? Like this: https://www.facebook.com/lists/10151082762896971


My comments about keeping fans updated comes as a fan of the NBL, but also from doing it from a club level (i do the Hawks online social/digital stuff in a few hours each week plus game nights).

In my rant, i neglected to add that its free to look at what NBA & NFL are doing on Facebook and other social platforms. They are in-season so there's plenty of good ideas to take. They've spent the $ to determine best practise, why not follow?

Reply #390292 | Report this post

Years ago

"Someone tell Seth Scott, Will Hudson and Kevin Leeesh to bugger off....they ain't 'black' enough to entertain us".

Thanks for clarifying the point. Lisch is 6'2 and can't dunk to save his life. Wide open fast break and he always lays it up! Snoooze fest.
Will Hudson has no hops. You'd be lucky to be able to put a piece of paper under his legs before he comes back to the ground.

Havn't seen much of Seth Scott but from what I've seen he's actually fairly entertaining. Only seen him once in that game where he got ejected but in that game he had a couple of dunks and some good blocks. But yeh Lisch and co are the problem with the NBL. If we wanted to see lay ups and fundamental basketball we'd be watching the WNBL. Even some women in the WNBA throw down dunks when they got fast breaks e.g Lisa Leslie.

Reply #390295 | Report this post

Years ago

Dunk from Steindl was cray tho.
Starts from 0:22

Reply #390298 | Report this post

Years ago

Social media is now a backbone of both grassroots sport and professional sport yet, its only when 'gameday' arrives do they 36ers management use this tool.

In my mind, too little too late.

The word has to be put out there and yet its free. Those in high positions and indeed green pants know this yet fail to tap into the small but good market.

Its all good and well having good management but if these areas arent being utilised, then it isnt the supporters fault, its the administrators fault for not putting the product out there.

If you have an item to sell and its genuine, worthy of its status in a market and you dont advertise it well, how the **** do you intend people to buy it, let alone speak about it?

Reply #390299 | Report this post

Years ago

Lack of marketing, lack of understanding that they are providing entertainment not just a basketball game. We need better introductions, better half time entertainment and proper facilities.

Doesn't all require money, sports are like a theatre performance and sadly in Australia we don't seem to understand its what happens off court as much as on court that draw people in..its about the experience.

Reply #390308 | Report this post

Years ago

In Adelaide, the team just needs personality and to consistently win. It's not intros and halftime that are the problems. Watch halftime at the United or Crows - plain as anything.

Yes, social media from the 36ers is poor. I've suggested someone who'd be perfect, pro and free or near-free and they weren't interested. Oh well.

Reply #390315 | Report this post

Ball Fan  
Years ago

Over the past 4 years I have been a season ticket holder once and attempted to get to as many games as possible. Unfortunately I have found the last four years of being a small business owner haven't been the most stable trading seasons I have experienced so season tickets the last few years were out of reach.

Earlier this year I attempted to get a deal done to bring over 25 of my clients and family to a game. After some back and forth with the 36ers front office we only could afford 14 tickets and were placed in a terrible position to watch the game. Many of the clients that came to the game had never experienced an NBL game before and they left rather disappointed. (poor seating, music blearing the entire time we could barely have a conversation,no healthy alternative for food and the big one... they lost the game)
Due to the poor experience we had dealing with the front office I have opted this year to not buy my staff game tickets for christmas and I personally have not been back to a game yet this season.

I will personally get back for another game or two however I doubt I could convince many of my clients to come back again.

So in regards to the topic question, Yes. I do believe the NBL is in trouble. If you struggle to get potential fans to the games and then when you do manage to get them there cannot create an enjoyable experience that drives them to want to experience it again you will expire your 'net population' of potential supporters/members.

Reply #390317 | Report this post

Years ago

I've suggested someone who'd be perfect, pro and free or near-free and they weren't interested. Oh well.

Too much pride in their (failed?) social media efforts?

Reply #390322 | Report this post

Years ago

Why does your experience in Adelaide alone mean that the entire league is in trouble?

Sure, losing a key team could be problematic, but the situation here is not entirely grim and can pick up. I do think it will take a top three finish or semi-finals exit though or the improvement in crowds will be very slow.

Reply #390324 | Report this post

Years ago

The Sunday afternoon timeslot is not the best for attending fans but I believe the TV ratings are up? The crowd is staying home to watch the games rather than attend. This could be due to a number of factors...cost, convenience, laziness, work etc..

Having said that, everyone loves a winner so if the Sixers were successful then the crowds would come. The interest from the public is there even with an unsuccessful side, take Mahers last game for example, not a good year but we got a packed stadium.

People are following, its just not translating into attendances.....thats where the club(s) need to figure out how to turn that around.

Reply #390325 | Report this post

Years ago

Many outstanding players in our compettion.Issac
believes winning the key in Adelaide and he is probably right. Winning is important to success off court, thats why Kevin Lisch is a great import, he is a winner. The current crop of coaches are as a rule concervative and will recruit "safe" because their jobs are on the line. Lisch is safe, Flynn is high profile and marketable, which one is a winner?
Perth with over 11K three games in a row shoots down the "black entertainers" theory.
The league is not dead, clubs that are getting it right are breaking new ground and records, others need to follow their lead. Leeanne, get on a plane and spend a week with Nick Marvin in Perth.

Reply #390326 | Report this post

Tiger Watcher  
Years ago

The best thing that has happened to the NBL is the Sunday afternoon timeslot...most sunday afternoon across summer they are the only free to air sport shown on TV....It hurts crowds and some team may suffer at the gate but i think it shows the NBL is heading in the right direction as a whole in terms of corporate awareness and support.

All that said if the economic conditions turn for the worse a few of the key owners might close the wallet which effectively will send more of our top locals to leagues overseas.

Reply #390327 | Report this post

Years ago

I agree with JA47's Facebook post..

NBL social media has picked up but is still not as good as it should be.

Sites like And The Foul and Cant Buy A Basket keep me up to date with the league. More so And The Foul. I don't bother going to nbl.com.au unless the other sites don't have what i need.

Reply #390330 | Report this post

Years ago

Until the Teams can live and continue to survive without owners money it will always be in trouble.
Getting rid of private ownership of the Teams would be the first step forward.

Reply #390331 | Report this post

Years ago

"Until the Teams can live and continue to survive without owners money it will always be in trouble"

There wouldnt be professional sport in Australia if this was the case, most teams rely on handouts rather than memberships and gate takings.

NRL / AFL propped up by TV deals, A-League by Lowy

Reply #390333 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

I also visit other sites to find the latest NBL news but often it is rumour and speculation (makes for interesting reading, even it the rumours don't eventuate), so you can hardly blame the NBL for not putting the same info on their official page.

On that note, they do have limited resources at NBL HQ so if they have a choice between updating the official site, or their facebook page, then they'd be better off going with their own website. Maybe its just me but I don't understand why someone would source information from a facebook page instead of a normal webpage.

That doesn't mean the official site is perfect. The layout and structure is fine (now), and the information seems like it is updated in reasonable timeframes, however when you delve further in to some of the pages, particularly the stats, it's severely lacking and it seems people involved with it continue to have a "that'll do" attitude. That is what needs to change. If they are limited in what they can do, make sure they do those things properly.

Reply #390334 | Report this post

Years ago

woolypert, excellent post contrasting the two imports. Perth are very far from a razzle-dazzle team. The unassuming, unathletic white import (the horror!). The shambling Andre the Giant oaf. The most athletic seeming player is probably Damian Martin and only because of the occasional dunk and block for "a little guy". But they have massive crowds and on-going success - the latter brings the former.

NZ struggled with their crowds until they won the championship. Locals always said NZers were bandwagoners, and they were absolutely right.

The Situation, do you browse NBL.com.au often on an iPhone? It's horrific.

All I usually visit for are boxscores and schedules. Boxscore links on phone are hidden and so you have to guess where to click. The hero centrepiece seems like a giant memory leak and rarely functions as it should. Very unfriendly site.

Why wouldn't the front page at all times in-season have links to the previous round's boxscores, not hidden in a little header slider?

The other things I reference every now and then are player stats (have it bookmarked separately) and player points lists (usually just Google for the direct link).

Reply #390345 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

As I said, the site is far from perfect.

Reply #390347 | Report this post

Years ago


What site do most people go to everyday? Facebook.

If NBL promoted stuff on Facebook its being pushed to them, not requiring people to go hunting.

Reply #390359 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

I don't use facebook so I am happy to admit I am not aware of the benefits, but I assume all they would do is post links to articles etc from their official site anyway so I really don't see the point in doing both.

I don't think visiting an official site for any entity is "hunting".

Reply #390360 | Report this post

Years ago

Marketing is easier and cheaper than people make it out to be. If the 6ers simply fired their marketing people and got people who are more resourceful, and in contact with the right people then they would cut costs and boost numbers and public interest. Hell, I could probably do a better job than the current people with half the budget they have.

Reply #390362 | Report this post

Years ago

The Situation - (No offence) you're in the stone old there.

People look at facebook, on the bus, on the train, at work, at home, in a cinema, before bed, when they wake up. They get push notifications on their phone, tablet etc.

They look at official websites hardly ever. And I avoid the NBL website, it's terrible on my Ipad.

Reply #390366 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

Yeah I know I am in the minority but what I am saying is that if they only have the people to update one website, why wouldn't they make it the official one? What is the point of putting updates on facebook that link back to the official page that hasn't been updated?

I get the point about them needing to interact with fans through social media and I see the benefit of having notifications sent (I think they tweet well), but there is no point doing all that if what they are putting out there is rubbish and out of date.

Reply #390368 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

Maybe they update their Myspace page regularly? ;-)

Reply #390369 | Report this post

Years ago


I don't use facebook so I am happy to admit I am not aware of the benefits, but I assume all they would do is post links to articles etc from their official site anyway so I really don't see the point in doing both.
Yes, that's the bare minimum of what they could do. But isn't your response a bit like saying "What's the point in promoting via e-newsletter a story that a team already has on their own web site?"?

Push marketing.

List of supporters on a Facebook page is often likely to be higher than the count of people regularly hitting the actual NBL or club site(s). Further, fans sharing that content has the potential to reach a wider audience. Breakers have just ticked over 25,000 likes on Facebook.

At their minimum, Facebook and Twitter are easy to do. And it's not hard to improve on that minimum either with simple engagement and basic viral content.

Reply #390380 | Report this post

The Situation  
Years ago

What I am saying is there is no point sending out an e-newsletter if the proper page they are linking it to is incomplete.

It seems the NBL has limited resources to cover all bases so they need to get the get the basics right (official website being updated regularly and promptly) first before they worry about the campaigns and other marketing. Its putting the cart before the horse.

Reply #390383 | Report this post

NBL Fan  
Years ago

The NBL could promote a highlights package on YouTube and then at the end have links to team websites?

Reply #390389 | Report this post

Years ago

Right. Got you. I do think their match reports are timely enough, they have injury updates and POTWs up at a regular time, and so on. The site itself is a pain.

And Sporting Pulse for stats is terrible. Why on Schenscher's page does it show is career stats for just this season and not past seasons? Or if I look at Townsville's season box for last year, it's missing Schenscher. Their system was bizarrely not designed to handle players changing club!

Reply #390396 | Report this post

Years ago

What's happening with the NBL website anyway? Weren't they going to put a new one up mid November or something?

Reply #390421 | Report this post

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