Champions League Basketball General Manager, Matt Hollard, doesn’t mince words when speaking of the new-found leagues’ objective.
“We want to be a truly national competition, and if you’re going to be that, you have to be in every state. “
And by every state, they of course mean every Territory. Or specifically, the Northern Territory.
“Darwin, or Northern Territory is definitely on our agenda.”
The Northern Territory is home to Australia’s most iconic landmark – Uluru – and home to the highest concentration of Indigenous Australians in any state, but there are no professional sporting team of any code in the Top End.
In short, there are no sporting pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians living in the nations largest territory.
“I have seen over the years, the absolute talent in those communities with these young kids. Basketball is relatively untapped in those communities. These kids play basketball day in, day out, but there is no real pathway for them as there are for footy. It would be fantastic to see a team, backed heavily out of the Northern Territory that has some really good Indigenous talent. “
Hollard would know about this talent. He has been heavily involved in the organisation Red Dust Role Models, who do great work promoting health for kids in the indigenous community. His goal is to engage these kids with positive role models through Champions League Basketball.
“Hopefully we can tap into guys like Patty (Mills), and the big fella (Nathan Jawai) to help us with that.”
The subject of the Northern Territory has recently made news, with Darwin Basketball Association Executive Officer, Joe Tertzakian, stating that Darwin could be ready for a professional basketball team “Within three years.”
The main obstacle ahead for the CLB and Darwin Basketball Association will be finding an appropriate venue. The most likely proposition is the Darwin Convention Centre – a world class venue located on the scenic waterfront of Darwin Harbour.
Darwin Convention Centre has most of the necessary facilities, but it only seats 1,500 people – not ideal from a revenue and ticket sales perspective. However, if the CLB promotes itself more as a TV product, such issues may not be relevant.
Another option is to pursue Government funding to support a prospective team. If the team proves a success in the CLB, it could inspire the Government to upgrade the Convention Centre in ways that make it more viable from a professional basketball perspective.
Matt Hollard remains confident that the Northern Territory will be involved at some stage.
“It is a bit in the future (Darwin), but it is something I am really passionate about”
For the full interview, check out our Aussie Hoopla podcast titled Building a basketball league with Matt Hollard, and our very own Dan Boyce this Sunday.