New team for South

The Sports Entertainment Group has increased its presence in southern basketball.

After buying the Otago Nuggets last year, the group has won ownership rights to a lower South Island women’s National Basketball League team.

It is part of revamp for the women’s NBL, in which five privately owned franchises will replace the six-team association-based model — which the Otago Gold Rush was part of.

SEN was one of 10 ownership groups to submit an expression of interest for a franchise licence.

An Australia media company, SEN has a New Zealand presence in the Sports Entertainment Network New Zealand.

It bought the Nuggets in November last year.

That added the Otago men’s NBL franchise to its existing basketball portfolio, which includes Australia’s Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United.

Details of the lower South Island team, including a name and location, are set to be unveiled next month.

They will be revealed alongside the other four teams.

A North team has been awarded to a consortium of Dil Interests and Harbour Basketball, while a mid-North team was bought by the Bay of Plenty Basketball Foundation.

The Central Women’s Basketball Group will own the Central team and Mainland Pouakai has the rights to the upper South Island team.

The purpose of the new league is to increase payments to an equal footing with the men’s league.

That is hoped to attract the top New Zealanders home to play, as well as bringing quality imports.

The new league will begin in July.

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