Nuggets set to be part of bonus payday

Angela Ruske
Angela Ruske
The Otago Nuggets must be wondering if there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The franchise has gone from a non-starter to a pay-per-view product in just over a week.

It is quite a turnaround.

The National Basketball League yesterday announced it was launching an overseas pay-per-view platform.

Basketball-starved fans from around the world can buy a pass to watch all 56 NBL games.

The service will be blocked to New Zealand viewers but they can watch all the games on Sky Sport.

The profits from the pay-per-view venture will be split evenly among the NBL, the seven participating teams and the players.

Nuggets spokeswoman Angela Ruske described the news as ‘‘very exciting’’.

‘‘It will be great for the players and great for the franchise because it will give us a boost for next year if turns out to be as good as it possibly could be,’’ Ruske said.

‘‘It is a win-win for us again.’’

A little over a week ago the Nuggets were facing the possibility of spending their sixth consecutive season on the sidelines.

The franchise had pulled out of the league at the end of the 2014 season due to finances. The latest attempt to revive the team was focused on next season.

But with Covid-19 forcing the NBL into a creative rethink of the tournament, the Nuggets have been able to bring forward their return.

A bonus pay day at the end must really feel like Christmas for the franchise.

Ruske said the Nuggets had not received any official estimates on how much the pay-per-view venture could generate. But any pay day would be gratefully received.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson said seizing the opportunity to become one of the few professional basketball leagues operating in the world was a wonderful opportunity.

‘‘We all know Covid-19 has brought the sporting world to a grinding halt, so that means our league could be the best available basketball option for overseas fans,’’ Nelson said.

‘‘We are stepping into new territory by offering our games globally. ‘‘The teams revenue sources are challenged this year too, so we needed to help them and the players.

‘‘We think this might be a first. I don’t know of another sport in New Zealand where players have been given a share of the pay-per-view revenue like this.’’

More than 250 players, including 11 Tall Blacks, registered to play in the tournament during the opening 24 hours.

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