Australian Public

THE National Basketball League faces a television black-out by pay television partner Fox Sports after losing both the Sydney Kings and Brisbane Bullets to financial problems.

Similarly Hummer, a division of General Motors, is reviewing its position as the league's naming-rights sponsor with the NBL now reduced to just 11 teams, and with West Sydney's shift to Penrith, has no major presence in the harbour city.

A spokesman for Premier Media Group chief executive David Malone said the network was awaiting a new season schedule of matches before any final decision was made on broadcasting matches next season.

Harmison is looking to the Henderson Report, a commercial review due to be presented to the NBL to provide some guidance on how to avoid more teams falling over.

"What I expect to come out of the investigation is to have criteria set in place that will allow the teams to be a fighting chance of breaking even or turning a profit," he said.

"Whether you call it a franchising agreement or a licensing agreement, we need to develop a set of criteria that is going to stop the boom-and-bust cycle we've had over the last 30 years.

"Our sport has seen a number of teams come and go, be successful for a couple of years and then fall over.

"Whether it's due to mismanagement, or under-management or a lack of resources, we need to get to a stage where we don't have that any more.

Harmison is working on a revised draw which is to be released at the end of this month.

"But it's a fact of life and we've got to live with it. The teams that are remaining in the league are strong. They're going to play some great basketball."

Harmison said the NBL had held high hopes for both the proposed ownership groups for the Kings, but ultimately when it came to crunch time, both failed to produce the necessary backing to proceed.

"The league did make a last-ditch attempt when it became apparent that both bids were faltering to bring the two groups together, but those efforts have been in vain."

"It's a sad day for Sydney basketball fans that's for sure, but at the end of the day the two bids didn't stack up financially."

"What we needed from the group that remained at the end of the day was a financial or bank guarantee and that wasn't forthcoming."

The Kings had their licence revoked last month after failing to meet overdue player payments while Brisbane owner Eddy Groves handed in the Bullets' licence after running into financial difficulty and failing to find another backer.

We, the undersigned, call on Network 10, particularly "ONE HD"and the Telstra Corporation to sponsor the National Basketball League.

Enough public support should persuade Telstra to open itself to potential customers. ONE HD has the potential and time slots for the NBL and can provide viewers and media attention for the NBL.

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The Telstra and Network Ten to Sponsor NBL petition to Australian Public was written by Zak Norris and is in the category Sports at GoPetition.