Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Sal’s NBL has had to park its ‘First to 7’ initiative to decide tied games in the upcoming competition.
The reason for the decision stems from the League’s international partnerships within the regulated sports wagering market.
League General Manager Justin Nelson was clear and transparent with his view on the situation.
“At this stage the international wagering market isn’t able to accommodate a game ending without a clock.” said Nelson.
“As a league, we made a proactive decision to engage with the regulated wagering market outside of New Zealand to safeguard the integrity of our competitions, expand our global reach and facilitate the use of market-leading technologies. This is a similar strategy deployed by the largest leagues and federations in basketball and world sport.
“The statistical elements of a basketball game are built around a running clock, and taking that away will require a fair bit of work in the world of programming, and certainly a bit more time than what was expected.
“Unfortunately time isn’t on our side right now, so we just need to put this one on ice for 2020.”
In delivering the news to teams, Nelson said that everyone understood the situation and was supportive of putting the initiative on hold.
“The teams were looking forward to the possibility of deciding a game with a race to seven points, but we’ll need to be patient while we work towards trying to make it possible down the track, should we wish to explore it as an alternative way to finishing games.”
Despite the delay to introduce the new tie-breaking format, the League hasn’t ruled it out for the future.
“While there is a real desire at our end to deliver this initiative as a way of deciding a drawn game, we obviously need to make sure that all our partners, in and out of regulated wagering, are able to proceed with it.
“We strongly value our partnerships and we will keep working hard to see if the ‘First to 7’ initiative can be introduced in the future.
“While we have to revert to a normal overtime period if a game is tied this season, we have flagged our desire to possibly implement the initiative in the future. We very much want to keep the option open,” added Nelson.
The Sal's NBL Showdown will now use a regulation overtime period to decide tied games.