The Otago Nuggets are making positive progress in their plan to re-enter the Sal’s NBL in the near future, however in conjunction with the League have decided to defer entry until the 2021 season.
The decision is consistent with the NBL’s push towards building strong and sustainable teams with recurring revenue streams and skilled resources becoming a mantra across the competition.
While the Nuggets have many foundations in place, both parties felt an additional 12 months would help the team to better lay the foundations needed for success.
“The management team behind the Otago Nuggets continue to be very methodical in their approach to building a healthy and sustainable NBL franchise and while much of the groundwork has been done, we all believe a start in season 2021 is the best way to go,” said NBL General Manager, Justin Nelson.
The Nuggets progressed through the NBL’s formal bid process mid-year and were rewarded with provisional entry for 2020, though at the time of the announcement the NBL stated a few more hurdles needed to be cleared and if more time was needed then entry in 2021 was available to them.
“The Nuggets have a future in the NBL, and it will be a strong future, which is why we are all heavily focused on making sure the revenue and resources required to run the operation are spot on. In speaking with the Nuggets we all believe an additional year of planning and building will lead to greater success.
“The community throughout the Otago region is understandably eager to get going and see the Nuggets back on court. With the extra time they now have prior to season 2021 that energy is needed to keep building strong foundations,” added Nelson.
Angela Ruske, spokesperson for the Nuggets echoed the League’s comments and said the Nuggets were focused on a strong entry.
“In the coming months we will continue to work together with the NBL to make sure our entry into the league is strong and founded on sound business practices. We are excited with the support shown to date by the community and look forward to building the Nuggets back up,” said Ruske.
The decision to defer the Nuggets entry to season 2021 means the NBL is likely to proceed with eight teams in 2020.
Nelson said that while the NBL’s optimum model was having 10 teams, he was confident that strengthening each team’s business structures were the key to future sustainability and growth.
“We will likely have eight teams for 2020 and our focus is on working with them to keep building strong and sustainable businesses.
“All going to plan, season 2021 will see the league expand to ten teams with the Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls expected to join.
“Our focus on ensuring each team in the NBL is healthy, viable and growing is a fundamental platform that will ensure future success,” Nelson added.