Q’town expresses interest in joining NBL

Queenstown has taken a first step towards having a National Basketball League team.

It was one of four regions to submit expressions of interest to the NBL as it looks to expand the league.

The team would represent the entire Queenstown Lakes region.

Porirua, Bay of Plenty and Tavake Pasifika were the other three teams.

The expressions of interest will be reviewed by the league and those meeting criteria will be invited to submit a formal bid.

Formal bids will be due on December 3 and any new franchises will be announced on December 17.

It would follow the addition of the Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls to the league for the 2020 season.

League general manager Justin Nelson believes the interest shown from what he described as ‘‘four very professional submissions’’ highlighted the increasing interest in the league.

‘‘Despite our need to pivot and adapt during Covid over the last couple of years, the NBL has shown enormous growth across every part of our business and we believe there is a discussion to be had around possible expansion in the coming years,’’ Nelson said.

‘‘We have enjoyed a considerable rise in commercial backing since 2019 and across the competition crowds and viewers are rising quickly, which matches what we are seeing at junior levels of basketball, where participation is rising at record numbers.

‘‘To receive four outstanding expressions of interest, all of them built around very strong commercial and community platforms, is incredibly exciting.

‘‘The NBL board will now proceed to look carefully at each submission and consider each one on its merits over the coming weeks, before deciding which ones they want to take through the next steps.’’

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