The NBL Was So Broken, We Could Do Whatever In Order To Fix It: National Basketball League GM

The NBL Was So Broken, We Could Do Whatever In Order To Fix It: National Basketball League GM

Only 18 months ago, the National Basketball League (NBL) was in crisis- no national sponsors, no TV deals, very little revenue and big named Australian players leaving for international competitions. The new general manager of the NBL, Jeremy Loeliger reveals how the national competition picked itself up, got its head in the game and made the brand more compelling. 

ERIN MARY Doyle
Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the NBL didn’t rely on marketing at all. According to Leoglier: “Basketball in Australia didn’t need to market itself because you had the Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson era unfolding in the US. The NBL was basically riding on the coat tails of Space Jam and the US’s National Basketball Association (NBA).

“But all of a sudden you had that generations of heroes retire and that coincided with the other front line sports starting to really ramp up their marketing initiatives. From there it was a downward spiral- the NBL struggled to maintain audiences, commercial revenue dried up and marketing budgets decreased.”

When Loeliger took over the top job at the NBL in July 2015, he was bestowed a national sporting league in complete shambles: “A year ago we didn’t have a product. The NBL was that broken.”

Jeremy Loeliger

Jeremy Loeliger

“When we took over the League there was no TV deal, no national sponsors and there was essentially no revenue coming into the NBL.” In July 2015,  Melbourne developer Larry Kestelman acquired the majority of the NBL, and appointed Loeliger as the general manager, they had huge challenges ahead. 

“We were trading at the time on nothing but our reputations and our promises that we would deliver a great product over the course of the next season. When we were talking to commercial partners, from a sponsorship perspective, we couldn’t even say whether or not we were going to be on TV. We couldn’t say that it was a great product and attendances were going to be strong, because there was nothing there to demonstrate that would be the case.

“Now we’ve got around 24 national sponsors, every game is shown live on TV in prime time five days a week and we now have an operating budget 10 times what it was before we took over. The NBL has an entirely new work force, with the exception of two people, plus we’ve relocated the business from Sydney to Melbourne.”

So how did Loeliger and the refreshed NBL employees achieve all this in such a short amount of time? Find out during his presentation at the Ministry of Sports Marketing conference. Loeliger will be speaking alongside some amazing international speakers like: Nike Golf global senior brand director, John Hess; leading US sports agent Kelli Masters and World Rugby head of broadcast, commercial and marketing Murry Barnett.

There is also fantastic local speakers like: Rebekah Horne, chief digital officer at the NRL; the new general manager of the NBL, Jeremy Loeliger; chief digital officer at Seven West Media, Clive Dickens and CEO of Bastion Collective Marketing ANZ, Jack Watts.

Plus more to be announced!  Check out the program for the big day here. Use the code BANDT to save $100 on tickets. Offer ends at 5pm 8th July 2016. 

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