The National Basketball League and Fox Sports have announced a five-year deal that will see the pay-tv channel broadcast all games of the NBL live in High Definition.
The deal will see NBL games telecast live in prime time at 7:30pm AEDT across Wednesday-Saturday evenings throughout the 19 week regular season. Fox Sports will also broadcast Sunday games and more than 12 double header games during the prime time evening slots between 5:30pm and 9:30pm across Wednesday – Saturday.
The NBL has had a chequered past on Australian television having regularly moved between broadcasters, with fans often forced to suffer late-night delayed broadcasts. While this new arrangement is spruiked as a five-year deal, Fox Sports have included a clause in the contract that allows them to review the arrangement at the end of the 2015/16 season.
The arrangement with Fox Sports is non-exclusive. A spokesperson for the NBL has told this website Free-to-air television “is the next priority,” with the league hoping to get a weekly live game simulcast on FTA TV. The NBL has stated broadcast arrangements for New Zealand are also close to being finalised.
The NBL season will begin on Wednesday 7th October when Adelaide plays the New Zealand Breakers at home.
Executive Director of the NBL Larry Kestelman was keen to talk up the potential of the new deal.
“We are excited to announce our partnership with Fox Sports and Foxtel. We are dedicated to making the NBL a best in breed, professional and commercial product that delivers the best entertainment on offer to the public over the summer, and today’s announcement is a huge step in that direction.” he said.
“Basketball has the highest levels of participation of any sport played by Australian kids, and enormous popularity across all genders and cultures. The potential for our league to partner with other basketball leagues around the world, particularly in Asia, but also in the United States and across Europe, is of significant importance; it is what differentiates us from so many of the other front line sports in Australia and it opens up a number of growth opportunities.
“We are already in direct communication with the NBA and well on the way to building bridges with both the Chinese and Philippines basketball leagues with a view to working closely with them to grow the game and capitalise on its popularity in our region.”
Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany said: “Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and is booming in Australia due to the recent success of our home-grown NBA stars.
“With more Aussie kids playing the sport than ever before and interest soaring, basketball is entering an exciting new era in Australia and we are thrilled to be partnering with the NBL at such a watershed moment.
“Today’s announcement that Fox Sports will provide live coverage of every match on national television, in a first for the NBL, is a huge win for fans and will ensure the next generation of Australian stars can watch the best local players in action, every week,” Mr Delany said.