Basketball New Zealand has been impressed by the quality of the Expression Of Interests (EOIs) received back for its brand new, five-team, women’s National Basketball League (NBL) which is set to tip off in July 2022.
With the EOI process now closed, the NBL has received 10 Expressions back from potential owners of the five franchises up for grabs. NBL General Manager, Huw Beynon says that the quality of the Expressions demonstrates both the continued growth of the NBL and of basketball in New Zealand.
“It’s really exciting that we have 10 EOIs back for our five franchises, from all over New Zealand and also interest from overseas – it’s fantastic that we’re attracting various interest from big players overseas as well as home here in Aotearoa,” says Beynon.
“It’s a great mix of local, community and foreign interest, and given the quality involved it’s shaping up to be the best female basketball competition we’ve ever had in New Zealand.”
Beynon says the League is looking for a group that’s going to play and represent an entire region, not just a single city, and he is buoyed by the opportunities each team will be providing for young female athletes.
“Each team needs to be getting out and play across multiple venues across the region, they’re going to engage not just on a basketball level but at the community level.
“We need to give young women in the region something to aspire to; we need these female athletes to see professional basketball on their front doorstep so they want to be involved.”
Thanks to the new commercial partnership with Sky Sport, all salaries will be covered in every season. Beynon says that the fact the salaries are finally comparable to the men’s salary has been long overdue.
“We haven’t been putting up a good enough product for our female athletes, we haven’t been underpinning the Tall Ferns programme well enough in recent years, and that’s what this new NBL women’s league will do.
“It’ll provide a stage for our Tall Ferns to get better on and prepare better on, and it’ll also provide a reason for some of our best players to come home and play in front of friends and family instead of grinding it out overseas.
“This new women’s league, coupled with the investment in our High Performance programme by HPSNZ, means that the future of women’s basketball in Aotearoa is looking great.”
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