It's officially official. Tasmania will be the home of the tenth NBL team for the 2021/22 season announced by the league.
While the NBL confirmed a tenth team was heading to Tasmania back in May, the finer details have now been ironed out and the NBL licence for Tasmania finalised in what is a massive boost for basketball in Tasmania.
The deal involved a complex arrangement that includes $68.5 million for the refurbishment of the Derwent Entertainment Centre, $20 million of which is for new sporting infrastructure that will see construction of a four court indoor stadium on the same site.
“This development will unlock significant economic development, attract investment and create hundreds of jobs,” Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said in a statement.
“This is how we’re rebuilding Tasmania, building on our strengths and providing opportunities for Tasmania including national league participation, to create new jobs, future investment and economic development.
“We’re proud to be a major sponsor of a Tasmanian NBL team and the opportunities it provides for grassroots pathways and player development in our state."
NBL owner Larry Kestelman who has long invested in property development, had also reportedly placed an offer to purchase the Wilkinson Point area for development as part of his commercial interests. There was no details released on the status of these plans as part of the announcement.
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman also spoke glowingly of the imminent return of professional basketball to Tasmania in over two decades.
“This is great news for the Hungry Jack’s NBL and the people of Tasmania who have showed amazing passion to help bring this to life," explained Kestelman.
“The final agreement means we can start immediately on the next steps for the planning and upgrade of the DEC in preparation for a Tasmanian team to take to the court for the start of the 2021-22 season.
“I want to thank the Tasmanian Government, led by Premier Peter Gutwein, the Glenorchy City Council and the people of Tasmania for their support, particularly over recent months when we have all faced so many challenges.
“The Tasmanian NBL team will deliver important economic and tourism benefits for Tasmania and bring new jobs and investment to the state. Basketball is a global sport and the NBL team will showcase Tasmania on the national stage and around the world.
“In parallel with the upgrade to the DEC, we will now begin the process of building the club. This will include engaging with the local community to help choose the name as well as starting the recruitment of people to lead the club into the future.
“We will be looking to immediately recruit a CEO to lead the club and we will work closely with the Tasmanian Advisory Board and the local community to establish a team that all Tasmanians can be proud of, on and off the court.
“We have been encouraged by the interest from corporate Australia in becoming foundation partners of the Tasmanian team. We will progress those discussions in coming months and look forward to major Tasmanian brands getting behind their team.”
With the NBL returning to Tasmanian shores for the first time since the demise of the Hobart Devils in 1996 due to financial issues, attention will not also turn to the name of the new team and it's possible key signings.
The iconic "Tassie Devils" name is unavailable as it is trademarked by the AFL, while the “Hobart Devils” trademark is owned by the NBL's 3x3 Hustle rivals CLB3X3. There are however plenty of other options that can be explored as Jacob Doole brainstormed in March. Heading the list of local talent to lure back home is like to be Melbourne Unit star Chris Goulding and Saint Mary's graduate Tanner Krebs.