It's really happening and the NBL have made it official. The NBL is returning to Tasmania and will enter the league as the 10th team in the 2021/22 season.
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman and Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein today formally announced that the NBL was returning to Tasmanian shores since the demise of the Hobart Devils in 1996 due to financial issues.
As part of a complex arrangement, the Glenorchy City Council is selling the Derwent Entertainment Centre (DEC) to the Tasmanian State Government, who will in turn redevelop the facility and lease it to the NBL as the home of the new Tasmanian franchise.
As outlined in the official release, the Tasmanian Government will sponsor the new team which will play the majority of its home games at the DEC and also an undisclosed number in the north of the state each season.
"Tasmania is a proud state with a rich sporting heritage and deserves teams in national sporting leagues and we are delighted to be establishing our 10th team here," said Kestelman in the release.
"This will be Tasmania’s team and a team for all Tasmanians. We want basketball to be the number one sport in Tasmania and with an NBL team we think we can achieve this.
"I want to thank the Tasmanian Government led by Premier Gutwein, the Glenorchy City Council and the people of Tasmania for their support and we now look forward to building a great team that all Tasmanians can be proud of."
Premier Peter Gutwein was enthusiastic about not only bring the NBL to Tasmania, but of the economic benefit it presented to the state.
"We have been clear that any deal for our state to have an NBL team of its own would need to represent significant value for Tasmanians, and the final agreements should see not only an economic injection of $102 million, but also the creation of over 1,000 jobs," shared Gutwein.
As part of the development to be funded by taxpayers, a planned community sports stadium will be constructed next to the DEC. NBL owner Larry Kestelman who has long invested in property development, has placed an offer to purchase the Wilkinson Point area for development as part of his commercial interests.
As part of the complex deal, Kestelman is expected to purchase and redevelop the Wilkinsons Point area into a destination that could be similar to Melbourne’s Southbank.
The NBL has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in recent seasons with record attendances and broadcast audiences. It was the only major summer sporting league to increase average crowds this season (8% up) and total attendances have also surged (21% up).
"The NBL is Australia’s fastest growing sport and the best basketball league in the world outside of the NBA," added Kestleman. "Basketball is a global sport and an NBL team will put Tasmania not just on the national sporting stage but on the world sporting stage."
No details were released about the team name, noting that the NBL does not currently own the intellectual property rights to the Devils name.