Melbourne Boomers continue as Lauren Jackson signs on
|Steve Chalmers||May 25, 2016|
Photo Credit: Michelle Couling Photography
The Women's National Basketball League will see at least seven teams in the 2016/17 competition as the Melbourne Boomers announced today that they will continue on in the competition for a 33rd consecutive year.
In a conference held at the Eureka Tower in Melbourne's CBD, Boomers General Manager Justin Nelson declared that the Boomers franchise has been saved by a private takeover bid led by Etihad Stadium Chairman Tony Hallam.
Australian basketball great Lauren Jackson played a major part in securing the takeover, where Jackson will now play a major role in the operations of the club, named the Commercial Operations Executive.
As first reported by The Age's Samantha Lane, 'the consortium has state government backing and, most significantly in the last week, won the support of Basketball Australia and Basketball Victoria that stood to reject a collaborative funding model outlined in the Boomers' private ownership push.'
Photo Credit: Roy Ward
Jackson told Andy Maher on SEN Afternoons "The people that have come on board and taken ownership are very experienced and are very savvy businessmen.
"I've been around basketball for so long and had to negotiate so many contracts and work with so many different people, it's put me in a great position to work in an administrative role and help the league to get to a better place," Jackson explained.
The franchise was in jeopardy over the off-season as the Bulleen Templestowe Basketball Club handed back the license to Basketball Australia after declaring their investment in the WNBL club would instead be put towards local stadium upgrades.
Funding will now come in all sorts with a three year underwriting plan between the private investors, Basketball Australia and Basketball Victoria, known to be up to $750,000.
The Boomers finished second to last in the 2015/16 WNBL season, however was marred by injuries to key players throughout the majority of the season.
Sources have told The Pick and Roll that a key core of players will return for another stint with the Boomers, including Elyse Penaluna, Alice Kunek, Rebecca Cole, Olivia Thompson, Maddie Garrick and Britt Smart. Tegan Cunningham is also expected to make the cross town switch, similar to Kunek's arrival at the beginning of last season.
It is understood last season's club captain Tess Madgen will not return to the Boomers, instead venturing overseas for a professional contract.
The WNBL now stands at seven teams, as the Adelaide Lightning continue to be in limbo, while South East Queensland Stars are now defunct.