Nine joins Fox Sports as NBL broadcast partner

Australia’s National Basketball League has agreed a multi-year domestic rights deal with commercial broadcaster Nine.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nine will provide a weekly Sunday afternoon game on free-to-air television. Nine will also broadcast five NBL finals matches, including the championship game, and provide the NBL with a “substantial promotional package across its various platforms”.

Nine will simulcast the NBL feed from pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports, starting with Melbourne United's clash against Illawarra Hawks this coming Sunday. The NBL last month secured a five-year deal with Fox Sports running from 2015-16 to 2019-20. Fox Sports will show live coverage of every game in high definition.

The Nine deal represents another victory for new NBL executive director Larry Kestelman, who has been attempting to drive through a commercial overhaul for the league. Kestelman told the Fairfax Media news agency that the NBL and Nine will revisit their agreement next season, when the league will again have the Brisbane Bullets franchise on court.

“Our agreement provides for coverage of our Sunday afternoon games throughout the season, as well as a number of finals, and has the built-in flexibility to allow for time-slot changes from next year when the Brisbane Bullets rejoin the competition and the league continues to develop,” Kestelman said.

“The new NBL offers incredible athleticism and entertainment in a dynamic atmosphere – Australians haven't seen basketball presented to them in this way for quite a while, and we are confident of its success both at the stadiums and on television.”