Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth are being favoured as hub locations to open the 2020-21 NBL but the NSW government doesn’t want Sydney to be snubbed.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has thrown his support behind Sydney and Wollongong hosting NBL hubs as the league considers multiple cities to restart the season.
New Zealand are also interested in hosting a hub, with jopes the season could potentially reverting to a normal season after the abnormal beginning.
But NSW Basketball officials, including the Sydney Kings, believe that Olympic Park at Homebush is the perfect hub venue.
The precinct that successfully hosted the Sydney 2000 Olympics has multiple playing venues, training facilities and transport options.
It’s understood that the NSW Government has shown willingness to contribute and assist with a hub model, including costs and funding to teams to offset the league’s revenue hit.
NBL officials have also had dialogue with the NSW government about the Harbour City hosting an NBL hub.
Barilaro is certainly prepared to kickstart talks with the NBL about Sydney and Wollongong hosting a hub.
“NSW is the home of sport in Australia and I would absolutely be open to having a conversation with the NBL about how we can get the code up and running in NSW, still protecting the health and safety of players and fans,” Barilaro said.
“We have stable COVID numbers and incredible contact tracing, so we are well placed to bring major sporting events back online and I am willing to meet with any major sporting codes who are looking at bringing their events to NSW.”
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger confirmed the league would continue talks with the NSW Government following Barilaro’s stance on NSW hosting a hub.
“We welcome the comments by the Deputy Premier and the announcement of a Ministerial Taskforce to oversee the return of major events to Sydney,” Loeliger said.
“We are in active discussions with the relevant ministers to make them aware of our planning process.”
A NSW hub would include the Kings and the Hawks, which would decrease costs with one less team to house and cheaper game day costs of playing games in Illawarra.
NSW is also a growth market for basketball in Australia, with the city set to host the 2022 FIBA women‘s World Cup.
It’s understood that Qudos Bank Arena have given a verbal commitment to host games at the venue.
There is also the potential for domestic tourism with Sydney and Wollongong being central to Queensland, Victorian and South Australian fans to travel where potentially able.
Teams could also be spread regionally for pre-season and some regular season hub games.
Hawks owner Dorry Kordahi says a NSW based hub makes sense given its central location.
“I would love to have a couple of hubs,” Kordahi said.
“If you look at the NRL model, every team is within their own hub and travelling accordingly.
“I don’t think we need to have one venue to play every game and I would like the Hawks to host games.”
Originally published as Sydney wants NBL hubs as league looks elsewhere