Monday, May 4, 2009

Could Free-To-Air Be Back?

Remember this logo. It could be what saves professional basketball in this country.

It seems that momentum is gaining that free to air NBL basketball could be back, all thanks to Channel Ten's new OneHD sports channel. The article below is courtesy of The West Australian.

The National Basketball League could return to free-to-air television next season — if there is an elite men’s competition at all in 2009-10.

Key players in Basketball Australia’s reform process are understood to have held discussions with the Ten network about having NBL games shown on the broadcaster’s dedicated sports channel, One HD.

The concept is viewed as a major boost for the league, which suffered a drop in popularity around the country once Channel 10 stopped showing matches almost a decade ago.

Although pay-TV provider Fox Sports has held the NBL rights in recent seasons, some of the competition’s more powerful clubs believe their product isn’t beamed into enough homes.

However, a new deal with Fox Sports, which included broadcasting every match live as part of a five-year, $30 million arrangement, was a sweetener from BA to convince NBL clubs to give away their control of the league to a new independent body last November.

Despite BA claims the arrangement would lead to a more commercially friendly competition to tip off in October, the game’s governing body has yet to release details of the new NBL.

A major issue that could hurt the Foxtel deal is the expectation that there will be no franchises from Sydney or Brisbane — two of the pay-TV provider’s three biggest markets — in the new NBL.

According to Federal Government agency Screen Australia, only 27 per cent of Australian households subscribe to pay-TV. But One HD is beamed only into Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Supporters of franchises in Cairns and Townsville would not be able to access the service.

The West Australian understands even if the Fox Sports deal goes through, replays of NBL matches could also be shown on One HD. The digital station shows NBA matches, including the play-offs, live. One HD also beams the ANZ Championship netball competition.

NBL great Phil Smyth said last week the lack of free-to-air coverage was a big stumbling block in plans to revive the 30-year-old competition. “There are two major factors in this,” Smyth told the Adelaide Advertiser. “Private ownership in sports in Australia is not looked at favourably. The second component is losing free to-air TV — that really hurt the game.”

Meanwhile, new Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge could begin signing players as early as next week although the structure of the revamped NBL has yet to be released. Beveridge will make a short visit to Perth to discuss his recruiting process with Wildcats management. He will move west in June.

The former Sydney Spirit mentor, who has recently returned to Australia after working in the US and the Philippines, has plenty of work to do.

Perth have just three contracted players for the 2009-10 season, although the existing deals for Shawn Redhage, Brad Robbins and Stephen Weigh have yet to be ratified by BA.

Some clubs have legal opinion the existing arrangements will be void in the new league. The contracts were signed under old NBL guidelines. BA expects to dissolve the NBL as an entity at the end of next month.


- Panathinaikos wins their second Euroleague title in three years. They snuck by defending champs CSKA Moscow 73-71. match report

In the consolation final, Aussie David Andersen continued his great Final Four form with another productive game at the offensive end. He finished with a game high 20 points.

Barcelona/Olympiacos boxscore match report

- Pat Mills can be found at #30 on NBA Draft Day Countdown draft board.

This is good for Mills as this is the last pick in the first round and gets him a guaranteed deal.

It will be interesting to see where Pat goes as this is quite a deep draft for point guards.

Remember, as long as he does not hire an agent, he can still return to St Mary's for his junior year.

- The real "Birdman", Denver Nugget Chris Andersen is getting some credit for locking down scoring machine Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.

- Aussie NBA enthusiast NBAMate pens his thoughts on the second round of the playoffs.


Eric said...

Great news for you all down there. BTW One HD looks like a great network for FTA TV. Start lobbying for some quality commentary personnel.

I nominate Steve Quatermain as lead play by play dude.

Fans should be having this discussion to avoid the aural offensiveness of the "User-friendly roll/all cotton/verbal diarrhoea" of years past.

Anonymous said...

Here, here Eric. Please, for the love of God, no Carfino and no Gaze either (sorry).