Network Ten to stick with NBL despite scheduling issues

Australian commercial channel Network Ten will remain a domestic broadcast partner of the country’s National Basketball League despite having scaled back coverage of the competition and impending budget cuts, according to The Age.

A spokesman for Ten, which has a five-year rights deal for the league, from 2011-12 to 2015-16, told the newspaper that the NBL was not included in rights fee budget cuts that had been decided by the network earlier in the current financial year.

Last season, Ten broadcast two games per week, with most of them shown live in primetime evening slots. However, this season, Ten opted to broadcast three games per week on a delayed basis in a later slot after the league refused to accept a proposal from the network to show one live game per week on Sunday afternoons.

Ten is required to show three games per week on a live or near-live basis, according to the current contract.

Ten’s five-year deal also covers exclusive live online streaming rights for NBL games – another possible frustration for the league, which is currently unable to stream action through its official website.

An NBL spokesman said: “The NBL has a five-year partnership agreement with Network Ten and as is the case each year we are in talks with them regarding opportunities to provide the best possible coverage for our sport and the fans.”