The 'new' NBL is aiming to play hardball

Courtesy of Adam McKay, Helping Hoops

The Australian National Basketball League (NBL) is now the “new NBL” after the league’s rebrand was launched this morning in Melbourne.

The rebrand, which features a simple and bold corporate identity with strong colours, also features a fresh take on the digital aspect of the league, with both the NBL and club websites getting a much-needed facelift thanks to Fox Sporting Pulse.

“This represents a new platform, not only for the league, but for all eight clubs.” stated NBL General Manager, Jeremy Loeliger who spoke at the launch.

Courtesy Adam McKay, Helping Hoops

Loeliger recognised the way in which the public consumes sport is ever-evolving, and the NBL has not satisfied this demand through its digital offerings to date. The new brand and website is an important first step. However the next phase of NBL 2.0 will come when further digital assets are launched closer to the tip-off of the 2015-16 season.

Fans have been informed to expect a replacement for the now defunct NBL.TV, which has shown potential, but been a source of constant frustration for hoops fans in Australia wanting to watch NBL games live on digital devices. Loeliger calls future digital streaming services as “an absolute premium production” in line with those offered by other top-level Australian sporting codes.

So we know we will be able to watch basketball digitally, but will the NBL be back on free-to-air TV? If so, how many games will be shown? Unfortunately, these are questions that are yet to be answered as the TV deal is still in the pipeline. A number of options apparently exist, with league officials confident a deal will be done, yet the format of which is still very much uncertain.

Present at today’s event were members of local charity, Helping Hoops, which runs basketball programs for underprivileged children around Melbourne. The inclusion of Helping Hoops in the event is symbolic as it shows the NBL’s commitment to building strong relationships with community groups. League officials have emphasised the need for clubs and the NBL itself to cultivate such relationships, and have suggested data collected from clubs has shows a direct correlation between community involvement and club success.

So get ready for #HARDBALL (the new hashtag the NBL is pushing). The NBL is changing, gaining more resources behind the scenes, playing more games and improving in a way that aims to meet the demands of basketball fans that are crying out for a top-level product.

Can the NBL be relevant on the Australian sporting map in the years to come? Does money buy the necessary resources to finally do justice to the country’s top basketball competition? Today’s reset of the league will be viewed as a turning point, that is without question, but the results remain to be seen.

Helping Hoops are on the search for not just a coach, but a role model who can deliver inclusive, participation-based programs to underprivileged children across Melbourne. Is this you? Do you know someone who fits the description?

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