It is typically a healthy sign when a sportsleague discusses expansion, so the good news for the NBL is that it is in negotiations to obtain a venue in the vicinity of Hobart in order to expand to Tasmania.
NBL owner Larry Kestelman is negotiating for the best possible deal he can get from the Glenorchy City Council to for the 7,500-seat Derwent Entertainment Centre.
The facility is 30 years old. Kestelman is also after some nearby land, but it is unclear exactly what the future holds.
A team in Tasmania would bring the NBL up to 10 teams.
With just over half a million residents, Tasmania would seem like a risky undertaking, but according to Kestelman, “Tasmanians are passionate about sport and crying out for more of their own teams in national sporting leagues and we believe it’s something that fans are ready for and will embrace.”
For the moment, the new team (please name it the Devils) will play at the facility, but there are also notions of having some games at Launceston if a facility can be identified.
As is the custom throughout the world these days, the NBL is asking the government of Tasmania to supply some financial assistance to facilitate some upgrades to the Derwent Entertainment Centre.
Australian sports leagues have not progressed to the degree of America’s NFL, where team owners hold guns to the heads of cities and threaten those cities with relocation if the city does not finance a new stadium.
It might be a smidge easier to build an NBL fixture with 10 teams, as opposed to the current nine, but 10 is still an unbalance number compared to, say, 12.
The NBL does enjoy broad support from five TV partners. If those partners can charge more for ads as the result of attracting more viewers, it would be a valid conclusion to assume that the NBL can continue to expand.
Sending more players to the NBA is another way to gain viewers.