The Townsville Crocodiles might have dealt another blow to the league, in what is likely unwelcome news following the Wollongong Hawks' recent declaration of voluntary administration.
According to Anthony Galloway of the Townsville Bulletin, the Townsville Crocodiles Basketball Club Ltd have also been placed into voluntary administration, after losses have persisted throughout the last financial year.
Chairman Darren Finlay however, has voiced words of reassurance about the seemingly dire news.
“The Crocodiles are more than a basketball team. For nearly 25 years the club has been a part of the fabric of the Townsville community, providing entertainment for fans, inspiration and pathways for children, stimulation for the economy, and pride to the entire region.
The club’s members, staff, players, volunteers and Board have poured their heart and soul into the organisation over the years and there are no words that can truly express the gratitude for their tireless devotion and efforts.
With the continued support of the local community, we believe that the Crocodiles will come out of administration in a stronger position and build a sustainable business model as part of the NBL.
We believe in the future of the Crocodiles." (source)
Liam Santamaria of Downtown had discussed the club's financial woes earlier in the year, and the club had also apparently failed to secure Jupiters Hotel and Casino owner, Chris Morris as a stakeholder. View image | gettyimages.com The situation might not be as bad as it sounds. This move appears to be a valiant effort to rally the people behind the Crocodiles, and allow the basketball club some breathing room for the appointed administrator to assess the situation, and find some daylight. Stern measures would need to be taken to ensure the Crocs' long-term survival, and it will be up to the administrator, Moira Carter of BRI Ferrier to find some answers.
According to an NBL media release, league chairman Graeme Wade is confident in the outcome of voluntary administration.
“Our priority is the long-term viability of clubs. We know that clubs operating in regional areas can be successful, but they have to be able to operate independently.
“Similar to the move for the Wollongong Hawks, it is an opportunity for the local community and businesses to rally together and demonstrate their passion for their team.
“We know this is achievable. In recent years the League has worked closely with the Cairns Taipans and they have capitalised through strong management and community engagement on financial support from the NBL.
“The Taipans have just finished one of their most successful seasons ever, with their Finals tickets selling-out in a matter of minutes and they are not the only club to have achieved this feat."
On his latest thoughts about the NBL's lack of top-level vision, journalist Boti Nagy has also commented on the WNBL's Bendigo Spirit being in similar financial woes.
Should the Townsville Crocodiles and Wollongong Hawks fail to find firm footing in the immediate future, this could all very well signal the loss of two NBL teams, leaving six on the table. Should this unfortunate scenario unfold, would the loss of two clubs in the NBL landscape result in flexibility for restructuring of the league? How would it affect the season ahead, and the potential of new teams?
More importantly, is the underlying cause of all these unrest a sign for change? Namely, the possibility of NBL management needing to ensure transparency and clear ideals on what the league's long-term future could look like, and how it could get there with measured plans and milestones in place.
Stay tuned as the situation continues to unfold.