Women’s league doubling wages

Otago Womens Basketball players from left Sophie Adams, Ashton Prechtel, Abby Harris and Jennifer...
Otago Womens Basketball players from left Sophie Adams, Ashton Prechtel, Abby Harris and Jennifer O'Connell at the Edgar Centre. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Tauihi is ringing in some massive changes.

The national women’s basketball league has announced it will be doubling player wages, giving international teams a chance to join the league and moving the playing season to later in the year.

Tauihi will now run from October to December in a bid to give women’s basketball the best possible exposure in conjunction with other leagues around the world.

Last season, the league attracted nine players linked to the WNBA — including Southern Hoiho forward Ashton Prechtel, who had been drafted by the Connecticut Sun — and Australian captain Tess Madgen.

The league will look to expand to welcome international teams, and conversations are under way with several overseas franchises.

There will also be a welcome boost in player salaries.

When Tauihi was introduced in 2022, players were recognised through pay parity with the NBL men’s league, but payments will significantly increase for Tauihi players this season.

Former Tall Fern Megan Compain, New Zealand’s only WNBA player, said the changes signified a shift in women’s basketball in New Zealand.

Changing the league’s timing opened up the door for more WNBA players to join and the prospect of international teams could make Tauihi "one of the best in the world".

"The players receiving a significant pay boost will financially put the teams ahead of many international leagues and really puts Tauihi on the map in a game that is played right around the world," Compain said.

Sky Sport head of commercialisation and fandom Justin Nelson echoed Compain’s comments.

Nelson, a former leading basketball administrator in Australia and New Zealand, said elite athletes had the best chance to thrive if given the right support.

"I’d like to think the league is forging new ground that will help drive more conversations about innovation and investment in women’s sports," Nelson said.

"The proposed addition of international teams and increase in player payments will also elevate the reputation of Tauihi and ensure that it is firmly on the map when it comes to talent considering where to develop their careers."

More details regarding international teams would be released soon.