Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) has entered into a new two-year broadcast agreement with SBS and ESPN which will nearly double the number of games available on free to air.
Under the two-year deal, fans will have access to the entire 2019-20 Hungry Jack’s NBL season for free, with 67 games broadcast on SBS VICELAND and all 126 games available live and free on streaming platform SBS On Demand – an 86% increase in free-to-air coverage compared to the 2018-19 season.
Additionally, from 16 August, SBS will also show the seven pre-FIBA World Cup internationals involving the Australian Boomers, Canada, New Zealand and USA Basketball, including two games between the Australian Boomers and the USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in front of 100,000 fans.
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman, Larry Kestelman, said: “This broadcast agreement is a huge leap forward in the coverage of the NBL and basketball across Australia.
“It maintains our commitment to make the game available to more people to watch when and how they choose across different platforms and will continue to grow our audience across Australia.
“The agreement means the number of games broadcast on free-to-air television will almost double, making our national league accessible to more Australians, with SBS VICELAND becoming the new free-to-air home of the NBL along with more coverage available on SBS On Demand.”
SBS Managing Director, James Taylor, said: “SBS has a strong heritage of championing sports Australia’s diverse communities are passionate about, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the NBL to become the exclusive free-to-air home of Australian basketball, offering more free coverage than ever before, and in HD.
“With around one million Australians playing basketball, it’s one of the nation’s leading team sports for participation and we look forward to bringing fans every memorable minute of one of the country’s fastest-growing leagues.”
NBL officials are expecting the inclusion of NBA draftees RJ Hampton, LaMelo Ball, Kouat Noi, Sam Froling and Terry Armstrong along with the move to ESPN will further boost audiences in both markets.
ESPN ANZ General Manager, Haydn Arndt said: “ESPN is the indisputable home for basketball fans in Australia so it makes perfect sense to add the NBL alongside our exclusive television coverage of the NBA, WNBA and NCAA Basketball.
“We love what the NBL are doing to grow the league and attract high profile talent to our home courts – we saw it last year with Andrew Bogut’s return, and earlier this year with the signings of both LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton. Basketball is booming in Australia and the NBL is primed for growth.
“We’re very happy to be in business with them.”
Kestelman added: “We are delighted to partner with ESPN, the home of the NBA in Australia, bringing more global credibility to the NBL as we attract bigger stars to what is now considered one of the best leagues in the world outside of the NBA.
“We thank Fox Sports for their partnership over the past four seasons and are pleased we will remain on the Foxtel platform on ESPN.
“We also thank Nine for the role they played in broadcasting games on free to air last season.
“ESPN and SBS will now become the destination of basketball in Australia as basketball continues to surge in popularity,” he said.
The international games begin on August 16 when Australia plays Canada in Perth while the NBL season tips-off with Melbourne United playing South East Melbourne Phoenix at Melbourne Arena on October 3.