Basketball Australia has announced that eight-teams will participate in its upcoming season of elite men’s basketball in 2009/10, with powerhouse club the Melbourne Tigers agreeing to join the competition.
BA recently announced its intention to move ahead with a season of elite men’s basketball in 2009/10, before launching a new national basketball competition in 2010.
Adelaide, Cairns, Gold Coast, New Zealand, Perth, Townsville and Wollongong all made submissions indicating they wished to participate in the league. On Thursday the Melbourne Tigers also formally agreed to join the other seven clubs for an eight-team competition.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock welcomed the inclusion of the Tigers and said an eight-team competition was consistent with the recommendations of the sport’s extensive independent review process.
“We are delighted that the Melbourne Tigers have agreed to join the other seven teams and their addition ensures that there will be a strong and vibrant elite men’s basketball competition in Australia in 2009/10,” said Sengstock. “This competition will ensure fans can continue to enjoy world class basketball in Australia, and that players, coaches and referees can pursue their chosen field of professional excellence here at home.
“The 2009/10 season will also be a springboard to a brand new national league in 2010, which will include teams in Sydney and Brisbane to complete our geographic footprint,” added Sengstock. “BA is committed to moving forward with the reform of basketball and will continue to focus on setting up financially viable teams with strong connections to the basketball community in-line with the core recommendations of our independent review process.”
Melbourne Tigers CEO Seamus McPeake said the decision to participate in the NBL this season was in the best interests of the club and the sport.
“The Melbourne Tigers have committed to the 2009/10 season and support Basketball Australia’s united front as we move to achieve a sustainable national competition,” said McPeake. “After receiving a progress report from BA on Wednesday which addressed a number of our initial concerns, including the sport’s governance, the Tigers Board of Directors finalised our decision this morning.”
"The Tigers have a rich tradition and as one of the most iconic sporting brands in the country we are happy that we are able to continue at the highest level in Australia. Having an NBL team in Melbourne is paramount for the sport if it is to continue to move forward, and whilst we are in for some tough times ahead, we believe that the result in the long term will be positive.”
“The Melbourne Tigers Board were buoyed by the support and efforts of the Victorian Government and Sports Minister, Mr. James Merlino, with their assistance in helping achieve this result which allows the club to continue our commitment to the community and development of basketball.”
"The Tigers look forward to developing a strong partnership with Basketball Victoria and State associations to help bridge the gap between all levels of the sport. We are now calling on the Victorian community, fans, sponsors and supporters to get behind the club and help us continue to build our sport. We hope to see basketball and sport lovers alike in Melbourne cheering us on at The Cage,” McPeake added.
Sengstock also unveiled the finals format for 2009/10, which was determined by the newly formed League Commission. The top four teams will advance to the post-season, with the number one ranked team playing the fourth seed and number three playing number two in the best-of-three Semi-Finals. The winner of each series will then face off in the best-of-three Grand Final series.
The Commission also has determined that a $1million salary cap will be in place for 2009/10, as well as a points cap which will be announced shortly. The season schedule will feature 28 games (14-home and 14-away with each team playing each other four times) and will be released in June.