With less than six weeks until the season begins, it appears broadcasters are the ones playing #Hardball with the NBL.
On August 6th, Larry Kestelman – the white knight of prophecy for the NBL – unveiled the first stages of his long awaited resurgence plan for the league; these included a new logo – which is both retro and modern – and a new, much improved website.
But Larry, and new GM Jeremy Loeliger, were cagey and reserved when speaking of a TV deal, preferring to speak on an improved digital offering.
We can be sure that there will be some on-line service to replace the much maligned NBL.TV, and it will be of some quality, but will there be a broadcaster?
What we did glean about the situation from the press conference was that the NBL were not getting their run of things at that point. But that was almost a month ago. Has anything changed?
While the NBL has been transparent and proactive in many facets since its re-branding, there has been nothing but tumble-weed on the broadcaster front. Is there a deal to be announced? Either there is, and those involved are incredibly tight lipped – or there simply is not a TV deal to come.
The latter would spell calamity for Kestelman’s well intentioned plans.
And here is why: The NBL released their latest schedule on the assumption that there would be a TV deal in place. The league has staked so much on this, that they have set many games for mid-week hoping to catch viewers who might otherwise be watching one of the myriad of half-baked (mind the pun) reality cooking shows.
If there is no TV deal, the NBL will lose money for these games. With so many commitments for parents, students, and junior basketball-players from Monday to Friday, who exactly will be attending these games to keep the league afloat?
Only the most dedicated of die-hard fans, and that isn’t who the league is trying to appeal to right now. At a time where the NBL is trying to expand its brand and reinvigorate itself, the lack of some form of TV presence – cable or otherwise – will stamp a big, smelly foot on the hopes of the league.
Internet content is fantastic, but will it really be enough? The mid-week schedule was a gamble by the NBL, but will it pay off?
The clock is ticking…..