NBL extravaganza

By PAUL CHAMBERS

COFFS already hosts the Wallabies in Rugby Union and now the door has been opened for the city to host all the National Basketball League teams in a one-off pre-season tournament.

It is hoped that a Blitz Competition involving all of Australia's elite mens basketball players will be held in Coffs Harbour in the near future.

At a meeting of the three highest ranking basketball administrators in Australia at Sportz Central on Friday, the major item discussed was the NBL's proposal to incorporate teams from Asia into the Australian NBL and the major impact this would have on basketball at an international, national and local level.

Basketball Australia's CEO, Scott Derwin, the NBL's CEO Rick Burton and FIBA Oceania Secretary General Steve Smith passionately outlined their hopes for the future of basketball at every level in this country.

Burton stressed his desire to build on Australian basketballs combined world ranking of third and is very confident that, come the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the strategies his organisation are currently implementing will help Australian basketball teams win a swag of gold medals.

The first target Burton wants to achieve is to take the game to Asia, specifically targeting China and its huge viewing public.

In order to raise the profile of the game in this country Rick's vision is to play top line competitive matches in Asia which will be broadcast by satellite networks to over 500 million viewers.

The impact such enormous viewing figures would have on the Australian game is massive.

Sponsorships, advertising, a higher profile and tougher matches against international players are just a few, and once the market has been cemented the game at a local level will reap the rewards and this is where Coffs Harbour steps in.

As Rick very graphically described, imagine all of the NBL teams staying, playing and coaching in Coffs Harbour for four days in a pre-season blitz competition.

The Fox Sports cameras would roll up as well and beam images of Coffs Harbour to 500 million viewers around the world.



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