SHOUTING it from the rooftops overlooking our spectacular cityscape is the only proper way to tip off the WNBL and NBL seasons.
The NBL and WNBL held a special joint launch – highlighting the unity at the top of our sport in Australia – was held today (Monday) on the rooves of Crown, with a basketball court specially made to celebrate the event.
Where else could you find Olympians Liz Cambage and Chris Goulding on the same court, with Kelsey Griffin, Suzy Batkovic and Sara Blicavs all set to shine on the same channels?
2017/18 marks an important new chapter in the history of the WNBL – Australia’s longest running professional female league – when the stars return to the airwaves on FOX SPORTS.
— Kelsey Griffin (@Griffinkelsey23) September 11, 2017
The WNBL and NBL Seasons begin on 5 October, with the 2017-18 season marking the beginning of a broadcast partnership between Fox Sports Australia and the WNBL.
Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore, FOX SPORTS CEO Patrick Delany, Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman talked proudly of the leagues and the amazing growth basketball is seeing throughout the country.
Launching the season, NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman said there had never been a better time for Australian basketball.
The sleeping giant of Australian sport is awake and we are coming. We want to be Australia’s number one summer sport and one of the biggest sports in the country,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to take basketball in Australia to the next level. To inspire a new generation of fans of the game. A game for all Australians.”
— Sally Phillips (@SalLPhillips) September 11, 2017
He said the recent announcement that three NBL teams, Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and Brisbane Bullets, would play in next month’s NBA pre-season showed the NBL was considered one of the best leagues in the world.
“There are about one million Australians playing the sport, we have a record number of Australians playing in the NBA and strong national teams in the Boomers and the Opals.
“Over the past two years the NBL has enjoyed record crowds and established itself as one of Australia’s leading forms of sports entertainment offering a world class experience for fans.”
The WNBL also announced their broadcast schedule for the upcoming season, tipping off Thursday 5 October.
A shortened three-month regular season will see the teams playing 21 games across 13 rounds before the finals are held in January.
The broadcast deal with FOX Sports will see 23 games shown LIVE this season, predominantly on Saturday afternoons from 3.00pm AEST.
That includes all finals games with the semi-finals and grand final now played over a best-of-three series.
“After a two-year absence from TV, the league is thrilled that FOX Sports will provide us with a platform to showcase Australia’s longest running elite female competition,” Head of WNBL Sally Phillips said.
All eight teams will have a televised game within the first eight rounds, starting with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers hosting the JCU Townsville Fire in Round 1 as 2012 Olympic team mates and winners of six of the past seven MVP’s in Liz Cambage and Suzy Batkovic meet on court.
The Bendigo Bank Spirit will then welcome the Perth Lynx in Round 2 before the defending Champions, Brydens Sydney Uni Flames, travel to the Jayco Dandenong Rangers in Round 4.
“This is a truly great day for the WNBL,” Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore.
“We are absolutely delighted to partner with FOX Sports and the vote of confidence to commit to be our exclusive broadcast partner is overwhelming.
“The WNBL athletes are globally elite including Opals, Olympians and MVPs and we look forward to Fox Sports joining us in continuing to tell their story.
“We have got a new format for this season and the quality of the talent coming into the league makes it one of the biggest and most exciting in WNBL history.”
“We are so thrilled with our engagement in basketball and our WNBL deal,” added FOX Sports CEO, Patrick Delany.
“It is a fabulous partnership and we are very proud to have it on air.”