Basketball: Nuggets face funding deadline

Mark Rogers
Mark Rogers
The Otago Nuggets have until mid November to secure funding or face pulling out of the next year's National Basketball League, Basketball Otago chief executive Mark Rogers said yesterday.

Now would be a good time for the Nuggets to unearth a little gold, with the cash-strapped franchise potentially needing $400,000 to fund a competitive campaign.

"We are planning on everything falling into place but at the moment we have nothing concrete," Rogers said.

The franchise has received an invoice, believed to be for $5000, for the forthcoming NBL season from Basketball New Zealand.

The bill, while small and payable by November 30, has given the Nuggets a clear deadline.

The Basketball Otago board plans to meet in mid November to assess progress on funding and make a decision.

The 10 existing NBL franchises have been in limbo for the past few months while awaiting the outcome of a Basketball NZ review of the league.

But with the review completed, and a newly appointed board due to be named within the next couple of days, the teams can get on with raising the funds needed to support their campaigns in 2009.

"The position we are in is we can go to our sponsors and see where they are placed, and our board will make a decision closer to that deadline," Rogers said.

"I would suggest it is going to be more difficult than last year, given the current economic environment . . .

What was a fairly strong commitment from sponsors at the end of the season may have changed."

The Otago Nuggets' major naming sponsor, Cartridge World, could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Rogers was reluctant to put a figure on how much money the franchise would need to run a competitive programme, other than to say it was a "huge investment for our organisation".

The Otago Daily Times understands the Wellington Saints had a budget of between $350,000-$400,000 in 2008.

The Nuggets are not the only franchise facing significant fund-raising difficulties.

Basketball NZ chief executive Dale Stephens said three or four franchises had raised concerns.

Meanwhile, Basketball NZ is understood to be on the verge of unavailing a new major naming sponsor for the NBL and confirming a broadcasting deal with Maori and Sky TV which could result in some league games being played on Sunday afternoons.


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