NBL 'Three in the Key': Off-Season Disaster? Part 1

Welcome the first ever Pick and Roll NBL Round Table, where you are joined by three of our NBL experts in Steve Chalmers, Dean Zardo and Grant Richardson.

With so much happening within the NBL world at this point in time, the three writers thought it was the best time to introduce the 'Three in the Key' series to the NBL. This is so fans and our readers can get a quickfire hold of all three opinions in the one place.

The 'Off-Season Disaster' series will be a three part series consisting of three current topics. Part one is shown below:

"With the NBL in turmoil, Andrew Gaze said on Wednesday via his SEN radio show 'Morning Glory' that the NBL should take a break, regroup and come back with a new operating model."

Do you agree with his comments?

Dean Zardo: I'll kick it off, as unfortunate and disappointing as it is, i think the league needs to shutdown for a year, or maybe longer, to get things right. The NBL have said this week that they provide some financial support to the Crocs Hawks and Taipans and if two of those clubs rely on that just to keep afloat from year to year then its not working.

Cairns have proven a small market side can be a success story so the league needs to persist with both clubs, but they also need to be able to stand by themselves. All of the expansion talk is obviously great news but the league can't grow and move forward while established clubs struggle like this, especially if the NBL needs to help fund them as well as any expansion projects.

Steve Chalmers: Certainly pros and cons to both arrangements. On first thoughts, I agree with you Dean, the NBL do need to take some time off and sit down to get this right. While it may survive another season by getting six or eight teams in the league, it's definitely not a sustainable outcome.

Like many say, if you see something successful, most attempt to mirror it. This could be a similar situation to what the NPL/A-League went through some ten years ago now. Obviously you can't mirror everything they have done (10 years ago, different sport), however the NBL can certainly take some ideas and pointers from their rejuvenated success.

Gaze is correct in blowing it all up, however you can't blow it all up and then sit on your morals. Have some group/consortium in place even before pulling the pin on season 2015/16 so you know who is planning the future of Australian basketball. There are some great ideas out there from passionate fans. The right business people now need to take them all and brainstorm to successfully find the solution.

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Grant Richardson: I definitely agree that blowing it up without any definitive future plan would be a serious error. If the basketball public are left without any knowledge of where the NBL is headed, you could lose them forever.

I've seen several people talk about staying with the league even when the Dragons or Kings departed. This could be an argument for sticking with the competition in 2015/16 even if there are just six sides. However, the Band-Aid quick fix that Gaze mentioned is my biggest concern and if a successful model can be found for the future, it will be worth the lay-off.

At times throughout the season, it was evident that the NBL was listening to the public in terms of their approach to social media and promotion through their official website. This improvement was still too slight though and they must continue to listen to the public in regards to next season. The more ideas that are sounded out, the more likely the best option will be found.

Gaze also made mention of the SEABL, which would be the premier competition if the NBL did not exist next season. Without a TV broadcast deal, it would be basically impossible for SEABL to maintain the fan numbers. But do you think it is a viable enough competition to hold down the fort if the NBL were to dissipate and at least provide diehard basketball fans with something to follow?

Will SEABL take the number 1 spot in terms of National recognition?

Dean Zardo: The issue with SEABL is that its run over Winter, and if the NBL was to disband it would mean SEABL would have to have 2 seasons in a year or.something to fill the void.. by the time the NBL makes a call on next season this coming SEABL season will be half-done.

Steve Chalmers: If the SEABL takes over as the number 1 league in the country, do you really believe that people will jump on and start taking notice of it (increase in followers)? There's minimal coverage at the moment, for, technically, already the biggest basketball league in the nation during its time period. No real presence as to live games, the only positive was the finals live streamed last season. Plus the link that it's really only the East Coast. So what happens to Adelaide? Piggy in the middle?

Grant Richardson: SEABL would certainly have to make an incredible jump to increase their reach to bring in lost NBL fans but I agree, its technological restrictions hamper it far too much. Would be interesting to see how attendance numbers change for SEABL if there is no NBL in any case.

Hypothetically, if Perth were to move on to another competition in lieu of the NBL as per the rumours, Adelaide fans would have Mt. Gambier which is at least in their state. More concerning would be where Sydney Kings fans go, with Albury/Wodonga the only NSW side

On the flip side to basketball fans clambering for any sort of competition, could a season off actually get them more excited once the NBL returned? Perhaps an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" situation?

Is the NSW Waratah League good enough?

Dean Zardo: 100% agree with you Grant, Sydney's state league isn't up to scratch and with no SEABL team they would have nothing, really.

I think a season off would only build the hype for fans if the NBL finds a way to keep them connected somehow while its away and then market the return effectively, but marketing hasn't really been a strong suite of the league lately.

Want to comment on what you've read so far? We'd love to hear from you, tweet us at @OzBallPnR or directly at @cp_chalmers, @dean_zardo and @granto1990

Here ends the first part of 'Off-Season Disaster?', stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 released shortly.