Stringent examination for Otago NBL bid

Otago's National Basketball League entry bid has received its most stringent examination yet.

It was analysed "with a fine-tooth comb'' at yesterday's NBL board meeting, along with the other bids for new teams.

League general manager Justin Nelson was unable to announce how many bids had been received - that will probably be known today.

However, three were received on May 30 and a further three remained possible a week later.

The Franklin Bulls, based south of Auckland, confirmed on Facebook they were one of the initial three.

The meeting will enable follow-up questions to be asked of the prospective entities.

Nelson said the quality of the bids had been high and the area of strength in Otago's had not changed.

"I think the one thing that continues to resonate strongly with Otago is it's an incredibly passionate and supportive basketball region.

"Basketball has a rich history through that region which is something that is exciting and appealing.''

However, he said it was also important both new and existing teams were strong and sustainable.

The league was a fans-first one and he wanted to ensure fans had a strong team to support and could do so for a long time.

"That requires sustainability, it requires strong business acumen, long-term strategies with the right platforms in place to be successful.

"So while it's a really strong basketball region filled with passionate fans, with all of our teams - both those already in the competition and those looking to come in - we have a very firm focus on the business side of all operations.

"That makes sure we are continuing to work with teams and organisations that have sustainability as a top priority.''

Otago has submitted a bid to return to the league for the first time since 2014, when the Nuggets were forced to withdraw due to financial problems.

The franchise group hopes to find from 35 to 50 people to pledge $1000 each to form a start-up fund.

That could be used to employ someone to gather a further $150,000 to $165,000 in sponsorship.

Alongside that, gate takings and basketball camps would form the $400,000 total the franchise was budgeting for.

Included in that was from $100,000 to $200,000 for player payments - the new minimum and maximum set by the league.

Under its new competitive balance system, it is hoped to even the playing field of the league.

It has been unanimously supported by all the existing teams.

On the surface it would seem to give a new franchise a better chance of competing.


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