After a successful inaugural NBL1 season in Victoria, Basketball Queensland and the NBL have joined forces to bring the NBL1 concept to Queensland in 2020.
In a major change for the senior state league competition structure in Queensland, NBL1 will replace the QBL as soon as next year.
“We are thrilled to accept the NBL’s proposal for the QBL to become a part of NBL1 in 2020 and beyond,” explained Basketball Queensland Chief Executive and Secretary Graham Burns. “The QBL has always been regarded as one of the best state leagues in Australia and its status will only grow under the NBL banner.
“We believe we have arrived at a decision that is in the best interest of the sport, the league, its members and its fans. We congratulate Basketball Victoria and the NBL for an incredibly successful inaugural NBL1 season and we can’t wait to be part of it.”
It was a sentiment shared by NBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Crook.
“We are delighted that Basketball Queensland has accepted the NBL’s proposal to join NBL1,” Crook outlined in an official release.
“The agreement will see state league basketball in Queensland receive an unprecedented level of exposure including the live streaming of all games throughout the season. These are all things we achieved with NBL1 in 2019 and we anticipate similar levels of success for NBL1 in Queensland.”
Over the past decade, the quality and playing standard of the QBL competition had been on a steady rise, with many NBL and WNBL players choosing to play in the warmer climate during the Australian winter.
“The QBL featured a host of NBL and WNBL players in 2019 including Jason Cadee, AJ Ogilvy, Micaela Cocks and Abby Bishop, and we look forward to developing more NBL and WNBL players in Queensland,” added Crook.
While the QBL and its clubs had invested in the live streaming of an increasing number of games over recent years, the new NBL1 competition is set to lift the exposure of senior state league level basketball to another level in 2020.
According to the NBL, the Victorian NBL1 attracted over 284,000 viewers who tuned into the live streamed games online, with every game broadcast via YouTube across the year. This extended to more than 1.6 million views of social media videos posted by NBL1, in addition to more than 108,000 fans attending games. Basketball in Queensland is now also set to benefit from the additional exposure that the NBL has helped facilitate in Victoria.
While the NBL1 concept being embraced in Queensland has been long rumoured, now that it has been confirmed, the competition structure has yet to be determined. The NBL outlined in the statement that it will be ‘communicated soon.’
The timing of a competition structure announcement may well be dependent on whether Basketball New South Wales (BNSW) follows in the footsteps of their Victorian and Queensland counterparts in embracing the NBL1 concept for 2020. BNSW’s state league is known as the Waratah League, the standard of competition which currently lags well behind that found in Victoria and Queensland. Introducing NBL1 in New South Wales could well be a first step in lifting the standard of senior state league basketball in the state.
It is also believed that discussions involving Basketball Western Australia and Basketball South Australia adopting the NBL1 concept in following years have also commenced. With Victoria (including Tasmania), Queensland and possibly New South Wales all embracing NBL1, a conference-based second tier winter national league could well evolve over coming years in what would be a boon for the sport in Australia.