Basketball Victoria and the NBL have announced that the Hobart Chargers will join the NBL1 competition in 2020.
As was the case with the Mount Gambier Pioneers entry, Hobart has been issued an initial one-year licence for the league to bring them in line with the NBL1 foundation licence holders.
In the official release, NBL1 General Manager, Dean Anglin explained he was excited to add a second interstate team for the 2020 season.
“We are delighted to welcome the Hobart Chargers into NBL1 for 2020 and hopefully beyond," outlined Anglin.
“The Chargers have built a strong following in Hobart during their 23 year history and have also developed both male and female talent. We look forward to them being part of NBL1 and expanding the footprint of the game in Tasmania.”
Following the disbandment of the SEABL after the Hobart Chargers men won the 2018 Championship, the club withdrew their application to play in the then yet-to-be named NBL1 due to an existing dispute with Basketball Tasmania. The Southern Huskies who had just entered the New Zealand NBL (NZNBL) stepped into the fold to keep Tasmania's involvement in elite level senior basketball on the map. They entered the Hobart Huskies for the 2019 season into NBL1.
Having teams playing in both the New Zealand NBL and NBL1 though was not easy, resulting in the Huskies winding up their operation at the conclusion of their one and only season citing an untenable relationship with Basketball Tasmania as one of the key reasons behind the decision, although financial pressures were also believed to play a major factor, withdrawing from both the NZNBL and NBL1.
With Tasmania hosting a successful NBL Blitz and with aspirations of a national league team in the near future, the return of the Hobart Chargers once again fills a void.
“Having sat out the inaugural NBL1 season, we couldn’t be more excited to be returning to the floor with both a men’s and women’s program in 2020," shared Hobart Chargers President David Bartlett.
“With the prospect of an NBL team on the horizon, the times have never been better for basketball in Tasmania and we are looking forward to again adding to the growth, the excitement, the pathways and the community.
“Three years ago, we set out on a journey with our three-year plan to be strong at the bank account, strong on the court, strong in the community and to help make Tasmania NBL ready. We delivered on that three-year plan and we are now looking to the future with a new three-year plan.
“Going forward the Hobart Chargers will be a vital part of the pathways and inspiration for young Tasmanians to play basketball. We will provide an exciting and dynamic game night experience for all fans.
“We will work hard in the community, in the schools and with young ballers, inspiring them to play. We want to set some new lofty goals including the pathways for at least 10 future NBL and 10 future WNBL players emerging from Tasmania over the next 10 years."
The NBL1 competition enjoyed a successful inaugural season, with over 108,000 fans attending games, and importantly, every game streamed live on YouTube that resulted in over 284,000 viewers across the year and over 1.6 million views on social media on NBL1 channels.
“Basketball is thriving in Tasmania and the Hobart Chargers joining NBL1 will help further grow the game," added NBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Crook.
“Tasmania is an extremely important region for Australian basketball and we have already stated our desire to put a 10th NBL team in the state.
“We recent staged a highly successful NBL Blitz in Tasmania attracting nearly 9,000 fans to games across the state. It showed there is a hunger for elite basketball and NBL1 provides an important pathway for developing talent.”