Udog
Two years ago

NBL financial stability = long term success

I've been following basketball in this counrty since the late 70's. We've always produced great players and currently have an exciting NBL competition.

There have been many great teams and championship winners who no longer exist and there are teams like the 36ers and Bullets who have folded or have been close. Many teams have struggled with financial stability over the life of the competition. The one team who have had long term financial stability and quality backing are Perth. This is reflected in their consecutive finals streak and winning the most championships.

The NBL has struggled at times due to the introductory national invitational model in the late 70's. Local clubs entered the league with many of them representing a small area in Melbourne or Adelaide plus teams representing major cities in other Eastern States but no Perth (yet). Not many of these teams are left. None from Melbourne. None from Adelaide. This model was a mistake.

I look at the league now and see so much potential going forward. If the league was originally set up with a club in each major city (not affiliated with just one local area) and then a few of the larger East coast regional clubs getting a look in the league could have thrived throughout its existence rather than watching teams collapse year in year out.

Perth have done well and are an example of success the other teams should note. They set up a good base from the start and brought in the right people on and off the court. They built a team modelled on the league benchmark at the time (36ers) and then watched the 36ers implode and sack their title winning coach. It then took that team another 11 years to win a title while Perth went from strength to strength. Most importantly Perth had good financial backing and that leads to stabilty.

I hope the league doesn't stuff up by expanding too soon. I also hope to see teams like Brisbane and Adelaide who suffered through some dark times get stronger and thrive again. And I would definitely like to see more time and money injected into officiating and junior development. It looks promising and I enjoyed watching the NBL this year....except the officiating.

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koberulz  
Two years ago

The NBL has struggled at times due to the introductory national invitational model in the late 70's. Local clubs entered the league with many of them representing a small area in Melbourne or Adelaide plus teams representing major cities in other Eastern States but no Perth (yet). Not many of these teams are left. None from Melbourne. None from Adelaide. This model was a mistake.
Would a different model have performed any better?


If the league was originally set up with a club in each major city (not affiliated with just one local area) and then a few of the larger East coast regional clubs getting a look in the league could have thrived throughout its existence rather than watching teams collapse year in year out.
You mean smaller-market clubs like Sydney and Brisbane?


They built a team modelled on the league benchmark at the time (36ers) and then watched the 36ers implode and sack their title winning coach. It then took that team another 11 years to win a title while Perth went from strength to strength.
Because the Wildcats would never do something like sacking a championship-winning coach immediately after a grand final, plunging them into serious on-court issues and exacerbating already-present off-court issues to the point of the club almost folding.

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Very Old  
Two years ago

^sigh^ History is wasted on the young, that's why each new generation are always getting it to repeat..... and then being surprised by it....

:)

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PH  
Two years ago

Financial stability allows a team to build and retain a core, remain competitive whilst adding missing pieces along the way.
If the eliminated teams can retains their cores, get an extra season's stability and chemistry flowing, they will all be competing next year.

As I think the OP was saying, the origins of the NBL with far too many teams in Victoria was not ideal. I feel that Melbourne can sustain a 2nd team, but its a matter of getting the demographics right to carve up the fans. It shouldn't wait too long or MU will have a stranglehold.

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koberulz  
Two years ago

As I think the OP was saying, the origins of the NBL with far too many teams in Victoria was not ideal.
It might not have been ideal for what the NBL is now, but you can't really evaluate the decision-making of a small amateur/semi-pro league in 1979 by the standards of a professional national league in 2017.

Would starting new clubs from scratch, and dealing with increased travel costs, have worked?

This idea that the Wildcats have always been financially stable is not based in reality. They came very close to folding, even after severe budget cuts, in the early-mid 00s. There was a year or two where they only sent nine players on the road, because it was more important to save the cost of the extra ticket. We got imports like Mike Spears, Sunday Adebayo, AD Smith, Charles Gosa, Ryan Mendez, and Ontario Lett.

That period would be viewed very differently if the NBL hadn't decided to massively expand playoff qualification at the same time. The Wildcats have had the same down periods as everyone else.

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Luuuc  
Two years ago

Hey now - Mike Spears was banner-worthy!


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HO  
Two years ago

The OP shows a limited understanding of history and context.

Maybe the league would have been more successful overall if it had started with large one city teams or similar in major capital centres. But of course, the league would probably not have started if that had been the criteria.

The OP also ignores the fact that during its first boom period the league was not far off the model they propose. One team in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and two or three in Melbourne + some regionals. Yet the boom faltered, badly, and we had powerhouse sides not long after playing in tin shed style stadiums.

If you want to understand how the league did not thrive, you should not be looking mainly at its origins, that was probably the only way the league could have started. You need to genuinely understand what caused the hard landing after the boom.

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Udog  
Two years ago

Some nice perspectives. Thanks for adding your thoughts. I stick with my thoughts on Perth being financially healthy over a long period though. I do acknowledge the few lean years mentioned above though. If they didn't have the backing and success preceding then who knows if they would still be around instead of having a few years being mediocre.



Does anybody know how many past NBL teams have folded that have won championships? I note teams like Brisbane and Sydney who folded but have been able to re-enter. Would the West Adelaide Bearcats be counted as they were amalgamated into the 36ers but their championship doesn't count towards the 36ers tally?

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Camel 31  
Two years ago

I think the hard landing after the boom was due to nbl going off free to air to fox and people lost contact , being only 30 percent fox in homes...

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Fundingsland  
Two years ago

Financial stability or ability to put spend other teams due to a significant benefactor that hasn't fallen over like some others?

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paul  
Two years ago

I think the hard fall came about because most clubs didn't invest the money they were making in growing their businesses, many just assuming it would continue.

Then when other sports lifted their games the NBL and its teams weren't in a position to counter it and were left with player and venue costs they couldn't sustain.

The other factor was the league becoming professional. When it was a semi-pro league imports and the few quality Aussies could dominate and that made it highly entertaining.

From the switch to 48 mins in 1984 until 1992 average scoring was above 105ppg ever year except one. Then more teams started to become more professional and by 2000 the average score had plummetted to 93ppg.

The standard was much higher but to most Aussies it just looked less exciting because it wasn't the shoot-out it used to be.

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Fundingsland  
Two years ago

^ Goorjian killed the league with his grappling defence. Not a coincidence that the scoring pace has increased without him around.

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paul  
Two years ago

That's a massive oversimplification, the lowest scoring year happened without him. Many teams improved the way they played defence as they got more professional.

If you're in Perth chat to Trevor Gleeson about how much better defence has become in the NBL over the past 8-10 years, he gives an interesting perspective.

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PH  
Two years ago

I think the fall came because the league was fundamentally unsustainable and then weren't enough rich owners prepared to keep sinking money.

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Anonymous  
Two years ago

When are we going to see the player salaries released?

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Bear  
Two years ago

Awesome to have you back HO, where you been mate?

This topic has been discussed many times on various posts, yet it seems to come down to two main things for me every time.

Mainstream media = money

Money = financial sustainability

Yes, it sounds simple and it is, but for as many years as we want to look back at sport in this country, almost all sports at the elite level have had lean years where growth has tapered off and teams have folded, merged or changed face to survive.

Unlike the other major sports here, an yes I count the NBL as a major, we don't have the support of the mainstream media with the $$$ that produces through advertising and promotion.

This is where the future lies, once we get a foothold and the incoming generation sees basketball at the elite level in the same light as the A-League, Football, Rugby and Cricket we will get the chance to expand.

Until then, I agree that it is survival mode and the conversation needs to be mostly about sustainability until that day arrives, not pipe dreams and over expansion.

In the short term, I do however see a second team in Melbourne as a must, for the good of the competition, not just for expansion...

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paul  
Two years ago

"I think the fall came because the league was fundamentally unsustainable and then weren't enough rich owners prepared to keep sinking money."

It shouldn't have got to that though. In the early 90s a number of big city teams were making good profits but most didn't invest them wisely.

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Double Clutch  
Two years ago

You are all right, there was a multiple reasons why the league fell. In no particular order:

1. The league became much more professional and lower scoring as quality increased. To put it in perspective the 99 36ers were considered a run and game team and I think they averaged 99ppg over 48 minutes from the top of my head. No more imports dropping 50 on arrival.

2. We lost three regional teams in 1996, who did not have the fanbase, corporate support or stadiums to survive the move to a professional league. While the teams had to go the league did lose some variety with those teams going.

3. Channel Ten stopped pushing the game and dropped it all together for 1998. ABC did not have the viewing numbers.

4. The AFL continued it's push towards a national competition, expanded with Fremantle and Port Adelaide coming into the competition, started to move it's gametimes to times previously exclusively owned by the NBL. The Superleague attempted to do the same with League.

5. Many teams assumed growth would continue, when it stablised or fell they were left with financial burdens they could no longer cover. They did not recognise the changes quick enough and ran into financial strife.

6. Michael Jordan retired, the 90s cool view of US culture turned sour and basketball struggled to get away from that.

And so on and so forth. There was no magic bullet reason why the league fell, it was for a heap of reasons that the leaders at the time failed to manage.

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paul  
Two years ago

Nice post DC.

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Udog  
Two years ago

Great points being expressed. I'm glad to see intelligent, thoughtful discussion. No mention of chip throwing, flogs, dirty players, floppers. I have never posted anything before but had read quite a bit over the past few weeks and the main themes are quite annoying.

I have my fingers crossed that the league now progresses and prospers. The model looks good. As mentioned above media contribution looks like a big factor too.

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Isaac  
Two years ago

That's a massive oversimplification, the lowest scoring year happened without him. Many teams improved the way they played defence as they got more professional.
It's been suggested before that having so much time to scout and prepare for teams can do this. Fewer trainings, more games, is one option to deal with that.

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KET  
Two years ago

History is wasted on the young, that's why each new generation are always getting it to repeat..... and then being surprised by it....


Haha actually drawing conclusions in retrospect and applying it to decision for now/future is a logical fallacy (World Economic Forum has done an interesting study on this).

So, right off the bat i'd say if we are planning for stability and long term success - it is important to consider the factors which are at play at the moment and you try your best to consider what is at play in the near and longer term future.

Predictions by economists were substantially different pre & post iphone - the point being it is almost impossible to predict where things are headed as well.

That means it is critical the NBL have an approach and a structure designed on flexibility, attaining resources and a willingness to take on an element of risk with quick and diligent decisions.

I say this because it is important how the NBL operates and the direction it takes when it deals with infrastructure, influence on club management, broadcast rights, marketing, player association deals, geographic market of clubs (particularly for expansion) and requirements for financial stability.

Of course, many external factors come to play with many impossible to have control over.

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paul  
Two years ago

"Haha actually drawing conclusions in retrospect and applying it to decision for now/future is a logical fallacy"

Only if you apply learned knowledge poorly.

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LC  
Two years ago

Some great posts in this thread.

the other factor is the rise of the Internet, and with it access to NBA games streamed online.

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KET  
Two years ago

I would argue it's not the application of knowledge that's necessarily problematic, it's the knowledge itself - at least that's the logical fallacy aspect.

Some call it 'hindsight bias' involving a retrospective narrative with counterfactual and proximal reasoning and a predetermined outcome with linear sequencing and an over simplification.

Of course that's purely academic.

To follow through on my point, the factors and environment surrounding the NBL at the moment is likely to be significantly different to the past. If you're going to look on the past, it's important to recognise you probably don't know the reasoning of past operations and the paths that were available at the time. There may have been aspects to do with broadcast, geographical markets or business structures which looked like a failure but which could very well work today.

With that in mind, consider geographical markets - I do think there is potential in building clubs in growing areas such as Geelong or Newcastle. I certainly wouldn't rule them out based on the past - if I were to rule them out it would be based on what we know now. The benefit the NBL has at the moment is a 'dicatorship' structure which allows for quick decisive decisions and this can achieve a lot when you're trying to be flexible and innovative. When you are trying get into markets for the 'first time', that is exactly what you need.

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KET  
Two years ago

Excuse the wankery sounding aspect to that.

I am interested in how the NBL attempts to enter the Asia market in terms of expansion. It's hard not to look at 6 million streams from China without any real marketing effort or Asian sides and think 'there's something we need to explore'.

I would say it's ideal perhaps 2018/19 to have a second Victorian side and a second NZ side. I suspect that might capture both of those markets better and spark interest through rivalry. I also think we have the talent to cope with two new sides, particularly with the three import rule and attracting Aussies from Europe.

Confidence is a huge aspect to business, it's almost the entirety of business when it boils down to it. LK brings in capital and commitment to effort in using his business expertise. Those two aspects are invaluable to confidence and turning the NBL into a viable investment. Hopefully we will see real financial stability for Adelaide, Illawarra, Cairns and Brisbane.

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HO  
Two years ago

There is no hindsight bias in the OP Ket, there is just an assertion without substance, evidence etc:

"The NBL has struggled at times "due" to the introductory national invitational model in the late 70's"

Its an opinion stated as a matter of fact.

Bear, nice welcome, thanks - this forum has become obsessed with refereeing calls, Dazz's propensity for starting posts etc. I read most days, just don't have a lot I want to comment on - also, I have never commented much about actual games because I don't watch many.

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KET  
Two years ago

Haha the point was made to Very Old about not learning the lessons of history.

Wasn't even so much a point as a light remark in passing

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paul  
Two years ago

"I would argue it's not the application of knowledge that's necessarily problematic, it's the knowledge itself - at least that's the logical fallacy aspect."

I would disagree. Look at the NBL. How many teams over the years have tried to buy in lots of talent and not had success? What about those who appoint 'big name' coaches?

The most successful teams have had stability and quality coaching, that's a lesson from the past that is well worth learning and applying.

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Bear  
Two years ago

@HO, I get it, understand completely...

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HO  
Two years ago

What is your definition of success Paul?

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Fundingsland  
Two years ago

I would argue that long term success of late has related more to the right core group being locked to a club. Coaches have changed at Perth and NZ and seen continued success with the core intact.

Imagine if Wright had kept the group of Cadee, Goulding, Gibson, Petrie, Worthington together for 5 years what they would be doing right now

Perth and NZ locked away the best talent leading the other teams to effectively shuffle the deck chairs annually with the off contract talent.

Only recently have we seen more than one decent local player come into the league for teams to fight over. There was a patch where players were not going back from Europe and college guys were not on the scene.

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