Last year

NBL Expansion

With all the discussion going around about NBL expansion, potentially for the 25/26 season, what are people's thoughts for new teams and an optimum number of league teams?

Expansion candidates;
Second Sydney Team
Second NZ team (Wellington)
Gold Coast
Third Melbourne team/Geelong?

Any others at this stage?

I haven’t included Asia considering a) travel expenses, b) questionable local support or c) the potential for an 'Champions league’ the competition which pits the best NBL/Asian teams together. Discussion on a second Perth team has died down given their owners are under financial pressure and success is waning.

Second question, what is the optimum number of league teams (and therefore games per season)?
10 current - 28 game season – top 6
12 – 28 game season – top 6
14 – 26 game season – top 8?


Topic #51609 | Report this topic

Last year

Gold Coast

I doubt it, the league tried to gain momentum with these two cities using their own self-generated hype and it has led to nowhere.

Reply #931142 | Report this post

Last year

Sydney is certainly your best bet

Reply #931146 | Report this post

Last year

Perthworld, what makes you say it's led to nowhere?

Reply #931150 | Report this post

Last year

Yes, It's been about 6 months so time to recycle this topic......

Next is the Goldie and then Canberra.

Reply #931151 | Report this post

Billy Bob  
Last year

There needs to be something done.

The second tier effectively has 70 odd teams, the next level up has 10.
Name another bball country in the world that has such a discrepancy?

Reply #931154 | Report this post

Last year

Gold Coast ... how many times do they want to try and flog that dead horse. The spot is a sporting graveyard, no team has ever flourished there and the spread-out geographical nature of the place means everywhere is always going to be too far from enough of the population to make it viable

Reply #931156 | Report this post

Last year

GC might not necessarily be the definition of insanity.

With the growth in juniors and people actively engaged with basketball sky rocketing and the Olympics coming, I don't think it’s the same dead spot for retirees, tourists and schoolies kids that it used to be.

There might be a sustainable path there.

Reply #931157 | Report this post

Last year

The NBL clearly wants to expand, and the league has sufficient talent to accommodate 1, maybe 2, new teams in the near future (I still think the NBL needs to do more to support getting quality juniors into he system and retaining its elite players - i.e. Cooks).

I think it needs to be based on a couple of factors;

- Local engagement (bums on seats, local media coverage etc)
- Strength of market (in terms of sponsorship, potential tv considerations etc)
- Existing basketball presence (does it have a big junior/social network)
- Accessibility (not sure multiple connecting flights, or limited flight ability is appropriate – may discount regional or Darwin team)
- Infrastructure – with the tightening economy many governments are cutting back on major projects etc. What potential markets have existing infrastructure capable of appropriately supporting a team

IMO - In all honesty what is the likelihood of the Hawks surviving long term.....at some point a call needs to be made – either the community/owners etc build up and support the team or it's relocated/rebadged etc

Reply #931166 | Report this post

Last year

Agreed, you just need to add government support as another factor for smaller market teams - ie for Tasmania rather than SEM.

GC or a lot of other options that would be critical too, and goes into your infra point too.

I also agree about the Hawks. I totally get that it's super hard to have a team tackle multiple markets and get engagement/community feeling like it’s their team.

Can we get the Hawks to be NSW Hawks? Can they be the team that plays in Newcastle and Wollongong etc?

I feel like Melbourne United would get proper support in country Vic, or Adelaide Crows throughout the country towns but a NSW Hawks situation might be super tough.

Reply #931172 | Report this post

Weedy Slug  
Last year

Nsw hawks, my goodness...

Keep them illawarra, if they don't pick up, Canberra and Newcastle are waiting..

Reply #931173 | Report this post

Last year

Didn't NT government say they would financially support a Nbl team not that long on similar to the deal Tassie government reached with Nbl

Reply #931179 | Report this post

Last year

Perthworld, what makes you say it's led to nowhere?

What have you heard?

Reply #931181 | Report this post

Last year

The league wants Asia but at this stage FIBA are a major stumbling block. FIBA have just recently shut down the ASEAN Basketball League that the Singapore Slingers played in.


Reply #931188 | Report this post

Last year

RIP Canberra Cannons

Reply #931189 | Report this post

Last year

That's very sad the ABL shut down. NBL needs to step in and give the Slingers another chance.

Heard Damian Martin say on his Sydney Spirit article that he really wants the Razorbacks back and some other defunct teams like the Falcons, Crocodiles back in the league.

If Gold Coast are back hope they can get the name rights from Harvey who still have Blaze. Rollers maybe but they never made finals.

Reply #931196 | Report this post

Last year

Rollers is by far the better name.

Reply #931198 | Report this post

Last year

Is 'western Sydney' the right location for a second Sydney team?

Semi off topic, but does anyone remember the ‘ADELAIDE SHARKS’ the proposed second Adelaide team..... about 20-18 years ago?

Reply #931200 | Report this post

Last year

Second Sydney team doesn't need to be West Sydney. It could be South Sydney, East Sydney but bring back the Razorbacks brand.

How good would it be to see the Kings, Razorbacks fight it out again at the Sydney SuperDome!

Reply #931202 | Report this post

Last year

I've still got my Sydney spirit cap, they were the days. Still one best GF ever between kings and razor backs before kings demise.

Reply #931205 | Report this post

Last year

Old enough to remember Mike Mitchell and Andre LeFluer - the Rollers were a pretty decent team for a bit there in that mid-90s golden era. Would love to see that name resurrected, but still a long way from being convinvced Gold Coast is right to be an expansion spot

Reply #931221 | Report this post

Last year

" Semi off topic, but does anyone remember the 'ADELAIDE SHARKS' the proposed second Adelaide team..... about 20-18 years ago?"

Yes haha didn’t they propose to play out of AEC as well?

“Second Sydney team doesn't need to be West Sydney.”

Agreed, also what infra exists in Sydney for a team to play at? Qudos is way too big for a second to play at and the Olympic Park alternative is far too piddly.

It’s annoying they got rid of the Ent Centre tbh.

Reply #931222 | Report this post

Last year

Semi off topic, but does anyone remember the 'ADELAIDE SHARKS' the proposed second Adelaide team..... about 20-18 years ago?

How about the Perth Bandits, around five years ago?

Reply #931231 | Report this post

Last year

Also, I think the proposition of "it didn't work before stop trying to make it work" which is a frequent criticism needs to be placed in the bin now.

There have been folded teams in almost every destination, Tassie and SEM teams have folded, and yet those two now are doing well.

NBL is a different proposition as a league now to what it used to be and there’s various other factors which have changed since.

So now, it’s best to reset and look on these things on its merits with largely the factors identified above.

Things like - what value would the market add to the NBL? What’s the market size and would that be capable of handling NBL growth and the increasing costs that comes with that? What’s the potential engagement there? Ie. Competition against NBL, population size, demographic that goes to the basketball, junior basketball engagement that may translate better to attendance etc.

What’s the corporate support like? What’s the government support like? How stable are they?

What’s the infrastructure like or what potential is there?

What ownership demand/investment potential is there for that market?

Gold Coast may be far better placed now in those respects than a few years ago for instance. We all know it’s a place where teams die historically, but a lot of the factors look like they could be materially different now.

Reply #931235 | Report this post

Last year

It was a joke when Sydney knocked down the Entertainment Centre for mostly just drama and art. Has been netball played there before but it isn't right for a basketball game.

Only place to play is the Olympic stadium next door to Qudos Bank Arena, it’s a pity. Looks like Gold Coast which sounds crazy.

Reply #931251 | Report this post

Last year

Having followed the league since its inception and NSW centric would love to see Newcastle and Canberra back in the league. My(fading!) memories are Newcastle always an excitement machine and Canberra always very clinical and "pure" basketball

Reply #931256 | Report this post

Dave Marshall  
Last year

There was talk of Mike Cannon-Brookes, one of the South Sydney Rabbitohs owners, purchasing a second license for Sydney and building an arena near or on top of Central Station. Does anyone know if there was anything concrete to that?

Reply #931257 | Report this post

Last year

Utilising the area above the lines leading into central railway has been talked about for ages. Typically it is referenced to building a football stadium, because some people don't want to walk the 1.6km up Devonshire St/Foveaux St to Moore park.

It would be akin to Federation square, being built above the rail lines across from Flinders St in Melbourne. But yeah, a football stadium rather than art galleries. Any development would probably utilise part of Prince Albert Park

There is a lesser bit where the Rabbitohs don't want to ground share with the Roosters, but considering they just spent $800 million at Moore park, it's unlikely any NSW state government would assist.

I wouldn't be surprised if a indoor stadium complex is a wedge to build a wider sporting precinct. But it would be a primary Rabbitohs thing, rather than basketball's interest at heart.

If they starting throwing in tennis courts and pool to replace ("upgrade the Prince Albert park facilities"), you know they are serious about going after tax payer dollars.

Reply #931264 | Report this post

ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last year

LK is a property investor and that will always need to be considered when talking about new locations. If he can see the placing of an arena as a prime piece of real estate, he will build the team and create activations around it that will raise the market price of that block of land. It pays to consider his other business interests as far as NBL teams go, as well as their potential profitability in and of themselves.

As for Gold Coast - the Rollers is a better name than Blaze and if we're going back to the future, that's where I'd go. Gold Coast shouldn't be counted out just because it didn't work in the past. Sydney didnt work at one point. Melbourne Tigers were dead as a doornail at one point. Places change.

Reply #931267 | Report this post

Last year

"Qudos is way too big for a second to play at and the Olympic Park alternative is far too piddly"

Netball now plays at Ken Rosewall since they put a roof on it. Still at Homebush, but capacity is 10k rather than 18k for Qudos' basketball configuration.

Reply #931270 | Report this post

Last year

SEM still scheduled to play out of the upgraded State Basketball Centre?

How many is the upgraded venue expected to hold - show court - that is?

Reply #931271 | Report this post

Last year

Yes ken rosewell is a good venue.

Isn't the state basketball in only upgraded the training facilities but not the show court.

Reply #931274 | Report this post

Last year


There is non-stop talk about where the next NBL club will be in Australia — but what about an international team joining the national league?
The Gold Coast hosted the NBL Blitz and is seen as a strong contender, NBL boss David Stevenson was in Darwin recently to explore options there, a second Sydney team continues to firm and there are parties interested in almost every state and territory.

But could the next club be outside Australia?
It’s no secret league owner Larry Kestelman and Co are doing everything they can to crack the lucrative Asian market and, while it’s probably a long shot that the next club is offshore, Crosscourt can reveal the NBL has entered discussions with parties in at least three different countries — Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Singapore Slingers came and went quickly in the mid-2000s.

It’s the first tangible indicator the NBL is deadly serious about taking the league global and, while Stevenson would not be drawn on the sensitive discussions, he confirmed Asia was the "logical international destination" due to its favourable time zone, travel distance and interest in the sport.
Large parts of Stevenson’s 17 years working with global giant Nike involved postings in Asia, including Hong Kong and China, giving him an intimate knowledge of the market.
“Having spent a lot of time living there, I’ve experienced it first hand that Australian basketball is viewed very highly across Asia, both in terms of the quality of the NBL league but also Australian players and coaches and high performance people, given the success of the Boomers and the Opals.
“We’ve got an aspirational position within basketball in Asia.
“We don’t want to rush into this — we did see the (Singapore) Slingers come and go pretty quickly (2006-08) so we want to make sure that, if this does progress, then it’s going to be a strong and sustainable model that has a long term home.
“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, given there’s a lot of complexity around how we would do that but what we do know is if you crack that code (in Asia), the opportunities are pretty sizeable.
“We’re having some active conversations and we’ll see how that plays out.”

Kestelman wants the 10-team league to grow to 12 by 2026, with parties from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Townsville and Darwin expressing interest in securing a licence.
But Stevenson cautioned the league won’t “expand for expansion’s sake”.
“We see a great opportunity and it’s not just in one place, we can certainly see an expansion agenda that would see multiple cities over the coming years,” he said.
“But we’ve got to have three boxes checked and that’s fan interest, strong corporate support and then government support, particularly from a facilities perspective, both playing and training.
“Until you get those three boxes ticked then these conversations remain ongoing.
“It might take us a bit longer to expand but we want to make sure that, when we do put a team in, it’s going to be strong and successful from day one.”

From the Herald Sun.

Reply #931290 | Report this post

Last year

I'm not certain how the travel distance works to be to Asia. Totally agree that Gold Coast should get a team.

Reply #931292 | Report this post

Last year

Only way logically is have the Asian team play a block of home games then a block on the road in Australia/New Zealand. Travelling is very dear so unsure how it will work.

Indonesia which are the closest have a brand new stadium in Jakarta. Which they used for the FIBA World Cup not long ago.

Reply #931295 | Report this post

Last year

Big fat no for any Asian teams. It is legit a dumb idea. I'd go for a 2nd WA team before we go there.

NBL could easily have 14-16 teams, given how LK runs the league now.

Gold Coast, Darwin and Canberra for sure. Then look to other places after that. If Townsville gets their shit together, they could easily come back.

Reply #931318 | Report this post

Last year

With expansion i'd really like a more set season fixture - not a fan of multiple home or away games in a row (I.e. 2-3 weeks in a row). I get stadium availability is an issue but, 3 home games over two weekends and then nothing for weeks on end is frustrating.

Would also like to play everyone else to once before double ups as well! Adelaide have played SEM and Perth twice!yet haven’t played carins once? Melbourne first game and not again since.

Reply #931320 | Report this post

Last year

I agree the NBL fixtures are so bad. It comes down to each NBL club owning their own stadiums, that won't happen in a long time.

I do wish each NBL team to have their own stadium with at least 10,000 so means members can attend plus brings in tourism.

Reply #931322 | Report this post

Last year

Wouldn't like the NBL to go beyond 12 teams and going to a 33 game season max. For Asia there could be some sort of Euro League Style comp added. 3 top NBL teams from previous season and 4 teams from Asia.

One trip to Asia and play 4 games in 12 days around the time of the Blitz. Each Asian team travels once to Austraia and plays the 3 teams in 10 days. 2 NBL games between those 3 NBL teams are included in Asia league series.

Japan, China, Philippines and X

Reply #931339 | Report this post

Last year

Maybe before expansion, how about having the best Asian teams come play in the blitz, or pre-season games against the best asian teams to get a gauge of the interest and level of play these teams might bring to the NBL.

Reply #931340 | Report this post

Last year

A Euroleague thing happening with Asian teams would be my preference.

We need to access revenue more than anything, I think that would cascade onto many more positives.

Afford higher quality imports yet again -> keep them here -> better local ratings -> meaningful Australian TV revenue and sponsorship -> higher quality imports yet again.

We'd have to sell to Asia playing the quality of our teams is good for them, let them handle the marketing for the most part to optimise TV revenue.

Just get the crowds of our stadiums healthy with $5 tickets and the like.

As far as expansion teams, what is the fetish with the Gold Coast? it's a 'big city', but it has no real basketball pedigree. A place like Geelong would be better placed than Gold coat if talking about basketball pedigree (or the Geelong I remember anyway)

Darwin is a point on a map, it has barely more people than Bendigo.

Canberra, never really had a basketball pedigree, the Cannons history is more about interstate people flying in to Canberra for an AIS job, when it was one of the few basketball jobs paying a full time wage.

2nd Sydney team would have to be a priority. Newcastle maybe? Is the Geelong association up the NBL in 2023?

The rumour of a 2nd Perth side? Which consortium is backing this? Any of the associations? Won't be Perry lakes or Redbacks... Jonndalup couldn't support alone, nor anyone near by to join up with.

I could only see a Rockingham/Cougars/Tigers JV based south of the river? Out of ARC? Though Rocko is getting $10 million spent on their courts soon, including roof and ventilation upgrade on the show court.

Reply #931342 | Report this post

Last year

They already did that a few years ago. Every single game set a new record for biggest margin.

Reply #931343 | Report this post

Last year

We can talk about Asian expansion all we want but if FIBA don't sanction it then there is no point discussing it.

Reply #931344 | Report this post

Last year

Is a second NZ team still a possibility? I note the A-League is adding a second NZ team.

Would a third Melbourne team be sustainable?

Canberra has no summer sporting team to support, only the Brumbies during winter.

If they can get a sufficient stadium, I think they'd be reasonably well supported.

Reply #931345 | Report this post

Last year

Canberra makes full sense but comes down to government if they can upgrade the AIS Arena.

Would love the NBL to go Canberra then Darwin to make it cover all Australia. Second New Zealand team needs to be in the South Island, Christchurch could be exactly like Tassie if the community get behind it. Turn Breakers to Auckland since I hear the Breaker fans get annoyed they don't play enough at Spark Arena. The fixtures are so silly in the NBL just make teams play at the one stadium and they need their own stadiums.

Reply #931347 | Report this post

Last year

"As far as expansion teams, what is the fetish with the Gold Coast?"

Market size both city and corporate, junior basketball membership etc.

What drew the NRL and AFL there? What draws the Olympics there as a second location?

None of these things are particularly surprising.

It's fair for people to question the merit of the location like any other - but there’s probably a lot on paper that makes sense. Whether it translates into successful engagement? Who knows.

I don’t think Geelong is as well placed, but I acknowledge there’s an emphasis on scaling the city up which could make it a compelling business case in the future.

Reply #931348 | Report this post

Last year

I was in Gold Coast for the NBL Blitz. The stadium is so much better than Tassie's and Adelaide's which I’ve been interstate. Gold Coast is my sneaky team as 11th or 12th. Unsure with the rest.

AEC needs way more level 1 seats, those’s corporate boxes always empty behind the members is so silly. They could at least put another 100 seats for members there. Looks bad empty.

BTW when did FIBA ban Asian teams playing in the NBL? Was it when the Slingers left in 2008?

Reply #931350 | Report this post

Last year

Teams owning their own stadium will never happen, unfortunately.

Are there any sporting teams in Australia that own their own stadiums - aside from nsw rugby league clubs (or is it the local council?)

Of course several state associations own stadiums, such as netball, cricket etc

Reply #931351 | Report this post

Last year

'Asia' is the NBL's new retread of an angle after their spin regarding domestic expansion locations such as Canberra, Darwin and Gold Coast went nowhere. It's laughable considering the intra-South East Asia ASEAN league featuring Singapore had to disband only last week due to a new FIBA Asia directive on regional competitions.

Reply #931355 | Report this post

Last year

Maybe before expansion, how about having the best Asian teams come play in the blitz, or pre-season games against the best asian teams to get a gauge of the interest and level of play these teams might bring to the NBL.

Been there, done that.

Never forget Broome 2011: Perth Wildcats 66-23 Shanghai Sharks.

Reply #931356 | Report this post

Last year

I understand the Asian market is huge and they want in, I also understand there are Asian nations obsessed with basketball which helps (although I would say that of Philippines, not Indonesia).

I dont even think travel to SE Asia would be that bad these days.

What I do question however, is why any Asian place would be engaged in a local team playing in the NBL. I just don't see what would attract them. It’s not the NBA and it’s not a local competition, so it would be a local team with mostly Americans, Aussies and a locals playing in an Australian league.

IMO that’s actually a big reason for adding a second NZ team, to make the league more ANZ rather than. A NZ team in the Australian NBL.

Indonesia you can cut out IMO - they’re not into basketball. Singapore is a great location but again they don’t care. Japan have their own good league.

It’s really just the Philippines. Would a multi-city Asian NBL team work? Probably not, that would be more disengaging.

The best case scenario IMO would be adding domestically and one more NZ team to be a 12 team league by 2026, 14 team league by 2032. 16 would be too many teams to spread talent in the next decade.

+Gold Coast
+Sydney #2
+Darwin or Canberra or Newcastle or Geelong or NW Melbourne

Play each team twice, that’s 26 games plus your rival again if you really want 28 games.

Work towards a Euroleague style tournament with Asia which starts as an internal elimination tournament to establish the top x sides to play against the top x sides of Japan, China etc. and just hope that achieves entering the Asian market and draws good crowds in Australia like the Women’s Basketball World Cup when China and others were playing.

Reply #931360 | Report this post

Last year

I like it KET, all good points.

Reply #931366 | Report this post

Last year

"Market size both city and corporate, junior basketball membership etc."

In many aspects, it's a market accessible to and from Brisbane.

My view is more around Gold Coast being a priority, rather than 'never'.

"What drew the NRL and AFL there?"
The NRL, which is concentrated in half the country, had 13 teams before moving to the Gold Coast first time around.

It had 15 teams the 2nd time around.

It moved there because it needed even teams, and virtually all other markets were saturated.

The AFL moved there again due to saturated markets, and the single mother's pension stretched further in the 1990's on the GC than in Melbourne.

Plenty fled Jeff Kennett's Melbourne in that time.

If the AFL wasn't subsidizing it, you wouldn't call the suns viable.

"What draws the Olympics there as a second location?"

Probably it being a geographic and market add on to Brisbane, ala above.

Overall, I don't think the GC is a priority for the NBL which is not saturated and I believe to have markets which are a priority above it.

Reply #931375 | Report this post

Last year

Gold Coast will always be a risk look how much cash the afl have had to sink in to keep the suns going even there nrl team struggles for support. You would want to have a very rich owner willing to take the risk or government backing like the jack jumpers

Reply #931608 | Report this post

Last year

I raised this last time the topic was discussed, based on Census figures (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_Australia_by_population), 5 of the top 10 cities in Australia are without an NBL presence. Larry wants those cities involved. Gold Coast can and will eventually get a team sustainable there and given the Brissie Olympics around the corner, don't be surprised if the Sunny Coast not on the radar too (highest growth in last 10 years).

Keep in mind, what the NBL has (and always will) in it's favour over the AFL/NRL)is:-

1) Single (or max 2) teams cities where a team can have full city support:-

2) Reduced travel costs. NBL teams can travel with more half the number of players/staff etc than either of the NRL/AFL (and this holds true to even BBL and A-League teams as well).

Reply #931614 | Report this post

Last year

5 of the top 10 cities in Australia are without an NBL presence.

Ten is an arbitrary number though - after the Big 5 population figures drastically fall away for the rest. #10 is 345K for instance.

Reply #931617 | Report this post

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