The coverage of the game will begin on Thursday October 11 with the Hungry Jack’s NBL 2018/19 season.
Nine will air two games per round on its multichannel 9Go! These games will be simulcast live on its streaming service 9Now. The company has secured the digital rights to house highlights of all NBL games on 9Now throughout the season following their conclusion, regardless of the network the game has aired on. Fox Sports Australia still retains the rights to broadcast all games on its channels.
Under the new deal, Nine and NBL will work together to commercialise the advertising inventory and broadcast monetisation of all matches across the regular season and finals series.
“There is not a hard value attached to this deal. The way it is structured is that it is all about looking forward,” Nine director of sport Tom Malone said during a conference call about the deal.
Nine’s director of commercial, partnerships and affiliates Ian Paterson negotiated the deal with NBL.
NBL owner and executive director Larry Kestelman said the partnership would expose the game to new audiences.
He said: “We have grown our attendance by over 50% in the last three years. We are now at the point where the venues are breaking at capacity point. The average attendance last season was close to 90% capacity across the venues.
“As a basketball product on a world stage, we are looked upon as the second-best league.
“The sport itself now is in very, very good shape. However, we recognised from day one that we need strong media partners to expose the sport to as many participants and grassroots as possible and that is important. This is amazing step forward for the sport.”
NBL has previously been shown on Ten and SBS.
To complement its coverage of the sport, Nine is looking at producing a 30-minute show. “It will probably air on Sunday morning,” Malone revealed. “There might be more basketball content along the way too, but we are not sure about what that will exactly look like.
“It is certainly something we are looking to support through Nine’s whole ecosystem – broadcast, digital, wwos.com.au and 9Now.”
Talking about the prospects of airing women’s basketball on the network, Malone said: “Yes, certainly. It is something we will be interested in pursuing with Larry.”
He describes the partnership with NBL as “an important first step in the relationship”.
“As it grows, then there will be the opportunity to look at WNBL as well and see if we can make that work as a commercial partnership too.”
Former NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors, Andrew Bogut, will be seen playing in the upcoming season of NBL. The Sydney Kings announced his signing earlier this year.
Malone said: “We are thrilled to have basketball back on Nine and part of the Wide World of Sports family. Larry and the team at NBL have done a terrific job rebuilding basketball in Australia, and securing some big names for the coming season – it will be great to see Andrew Bogut make his debut for the Sydney Kings.”
After losing the cricket rights for domestic games to Seven and Fox Sports earlier this year, Nine has since secured the broadcast rights for Australian Open and NBL. Its suite of properties now is NRL, tennis, cricket (overseas), golf, netball and basketball.
Speaking about the importance of sport to the network, Malone said: “Live sport has a strong capacity to aggregate eyeballs in one place at one time and that is why it is so important to free-to-air.”