ABC article about NBL and A-League fortunes
The similarities between Australian football and Australian basketball are obviously far greater than just the shape of the ball and their vast international appeal.Full story: A-League and NBL struggle for TV ratings despite good attendances as new seasons begin
Both are notionally cold weather sports operating national leagues in the summer to avoid Australia's footy-centric winter sports marketplace.
Both have enormous grassroots participation — football has 1.15 million active participants and basketball 595,000 according to Sport Australia's latest Ausplay survey.
Both are attracting encouraging crowds at the start of their new seasons: the NBL had a record first round total attendance of 48,820 while 40,000 turned up for Saturday's night's A-League Melbourne derby, with a similar crowd anticipated for the Sydney derby this weekend.
Both are blessed and cursed by enormous international profile, the reflected glow of the NBA and European football leagues also creating unflattering comparisons with the local product.
And — here is the rub — both the NBL and the A-League are struggling to convert their enormous participation and encouraging live audiences into the kind of TV viewing figures that will, inevitably, provide the funds needed to underpin their sustainability and growth.