National Basketball League signs three year deal with Nine

The National Basketball League has signed a three year deal with Nine, which will see a number of games broadcast across free-to-air and digital.

From October 11, two games per round will run on Nine’s multichannel, 9Go, while broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platform 9Now will broadcast each game live and offer seven day catch up for all matches, regardless of the network the match has aired on. NBL is currently finalising an agreement for other matches to be run on Fox Sports.

NBL will broadcast two games per week on 9Go

Unlike Nine’s deals with tennis or NRL, the NBL deal is a revenue sharing agreement, which will see Nine act as a marketing arm for the sport. A similar arrangement was made by Nine and Netball Australia in 2016, which sees Nine handle sponsorship and advertising spots during the games. Nine shares the revenue with Netball Australia.

“Larry [Kestelman] and his team have recognised the importance of free-to-air as a platform to grow the sport and the way the deal has been structured up fron. It’s one of the first times that we’ve placed the value against the spectrum of a free-to-air broadcaster in lieu of a rights or production requirement on Nine,” Nine’s director of sport, Tom Malone said.

Malone is confident the deal will deliver return for advertisers

“This is another innovation in sports rights in terms of how we’ve structured the relationship and also there’s probably – without getting into the finer details – there’s some things in there in terms of the commercial partnerships between Nine and basketball that make it a stronger alignment and an evolution of the agreement we have with netball.”

NBL owner and executive director Kestelman said it was an “amazing” step forward for the sport.

“We’ve gone on a journey over three years. We’ve actually grown our attendance by over 50% over that period to now get to the point where our total venues are actually at capacity point. Our average was close to 90% of capacity across venues,” he told journalists at a press briefing.

“The sport itself is now in very very good shape, however we recognised from day one that we need strong media partners and exposing the sport to as many participants and the grassroots, and the people that love it is important.”

Kestelman said although the sport had previously been broadcast on Ten and SBS, the new deal was a completely different offer. In addition to running the games on Nine, Malone said the network is looking into a half hour basketball show, which will most likely run on a Sunday morning.

“There might be some more basketball content along the way, we’re just not sure about what the shape of that will look like,” he said.

Ian Patterson, Nine’s director of commercial partnerships and affiliates, said the network would look to run more basketball competitions in the coming years. But, he added, the initial arrangement was focused on developing a “solid strategy” for presentation and establishing a commercial offering.

Malone did not go into audience or advertising expectations for the sport, other than to say he was confident with the return it would deliver to advertisers.

“We are obviously confident that the structure we put in place with Larry and his team is a success even before we’ve had play. What we want to do is grow the sport and the best place to grow it is the spot we put it in. We’ll support it with all our other assets and then we’ve obviously got the ability to move it around as well and to give it an even more prominent placing,” he said.

“We’re confident with the forecasting we’ve done, we are confident with the return it’s going to deliver to advertisers.”


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