Australia's National Basketball League In Crisis After Townsville Crocodiles Fold
Basketball Australia "has rejected" Townsville's bid to withdraw from the National Basketball League claiming, among other specifications, "it has not given nine months notice as is legally required," according to Boti Nagy of NEWS LTD. BA CEO Kristina Keneally "jumped onto the front foot" Monday after Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd., holders of the Crocodiles’ NBL license, "handed it back this morning, saying the 20-year-old franchise could not financially continue." Club Chair George Colbran said, "What that means effectively is that unless a new entity wishes to take up the license in the very near future, the Townsville Crocodiles will not be participating in the 2013-14 NBL competition after 20 years." Keneally said, "I am not accepting his license surrender. He has not complied with the licensing agreement requirements which state he has to prove they are insolvent, and if they want to surrender, they have to give us nine months’ notice." Keneally said that Townsville "had given no prior indication of its financial plight" which, it claimed Monday, had seen it lose A$2.5M ($2.6M) over the past six years. Of the Crocs’ revelations and decision to quit, potentially leaving the NBL with seven clubs, Keneally said, "It came completely out of the blue." The NBL must have its eight-team schedule finalized with its broadcast partners, Network Ten, four months from the '13-14 season tip off. The season "usually tips off in the first week of October giving BA and the NBL until the end of May to either revive the Crocodiles franchise or move forward on other possible options." A team in Brisbane and a second club out of Melbourne both "have been close to fruition." If Townsville "is not replaced, a seven-team NBL appears unlikely to attract sufficient corporate or fan support to continue" (NEWS LTD., 4/8).