Australia’s rejuvenated basketball league, the NBL, has struck a two-year broadcasting deal that will see its matches shown on the SBS’s Viceland and Australian channels of US sports media giant ESPN.
Fans will also be able to stream all 126 matches live via SBS’ on-demand service.
Neither SBS nor ESPN will pay a rights fee but instead share its ad revenues with the NBL who, in turn, will pay for the TV production costs.
The deal comes as Nine and Fox Sports decided against renewing the rights
In a statement to media today, Nine’s director of Sport Tom Malone said: “SBS is committing more broadcast hours than Nine is able to and we wanted the best for NBL and the growth of basketball in Australia.”
SBS managing director, James Taylor, said of the deal: “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 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 sees the number of games broadcast on free-to-air television 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.”