The task of delivering up to 10 games of Sal’s NBL basketball to Sky Sport viewers in 2020 is one that host commentator Huw Beynon is definitely excited about.
Beynon, a self-confessed hoops junkie, will lead an 18-strong commentary team through an action-packed season, while the production crew behind the scenes will more than double that number.
It’s a workload Beynon relishes.
“The rise of basketball in New Zealand is amazing and our 2020 coverage on Sky Sport of the men’s and women’s national leagues will be at the forefront of that continued growth,” said Beynon.
“I literally can’t wait for the season to start.”
With all 112 games of the Sal's NBL 2020 season set to be broadcast, viewers will see and hear a mix of familiar faces and voices across the Sky Sport coverage, while a number of emerging commentators will also join the team.
The commentary team will be led by Beynon, Casey Frank, Dillon Boucher, Donna Wilkins and Tom Abercrombie.
Typically games will be played between Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons, while two Wellington Saints games will feature for the first time on Monday nights.
Sky Sport, Sky Sport Next, Stuff.com and the Tribe Sports App will deliver the broadcasts with viewing numbers expected to increase on the record 2019 figures.
“Covering this many games positions New Zealand basketball at a whole new level and we have a great team to help deliver it all,” added Beynon.
"It's my absolute favourite basketball league, it’s a heap of fun to be involved in and based on the players already announced we will see some really good hoops in 2020."
To help cover the large workload, Sal's NBL General Manager Justin Nelson will also return to his roots as a sports commentator of more than 20 years and call some games as well.
“It’s literally all hands on deck to help deliver this many games to the fans, so I’m happy to chip in and do my bit while we work hard to unearth future commentators,” said Nelson.
"It's fantastic that basketball can deliver this level of coverage and provide opportunities to both professional commentators and also those learning the craft. I'm looking forward to helping and supporting some aspiring commentators take this opportunity.”
Though, Nelson does acknowledge his position as head of the League does mean his role will be a bit different when he gets behind the microphone.
“Huw is the captain of the commentary team, so I’ll be guided by him as to what is needed from me.
“Sports commentary is my background, and though it’s a bit different having the League GM behind the microphone, I can assure you I’ll be leaving the opinions to the others. I’ll very much be a neutral host. I want everyone to win!
“That said, hopefully along the way I can also add a bit of an insight to other things around the League and provide viewers with a transparent and informative look at what’s happening at management level as well,” Nelson added.
“I think viewers will like that extra level of connection.”
For Beynon, who raises a smirk when hearing he’s the captain of the commentary team, the prospect of criss-crossing the country to cover the sport he loves is something he can’t wait to get stuck into.
“The level of Sal’s NBL coverage on Sky Sport is unprecedented. I’ll make sure the commentary team is fit, healthy and in tip-top condition,” laughs Beynon.
“Pre-season is officially underway!”
2020 Sal's NBL Commentary Team
Clifton Bush Junior