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Sal's NBL Update - NZNBL

Dear Sal's NBL community,

This is an unsettling and unprecedented time in our lives where we have all been called upon to play our part in helping to deal with and hopefully eradicate the COVID-19 virus. Right now, our priority is to work together to support and protect our families, and each other along with the rest of the nation.

On behalf of the League and all teams, we send a message of sincere thanks to our essential workers right across New Zealand, all of whom are showing incredible levels of strength and dedication to the community. To our medical teams, nurses, first responders, carers and health professionals, we owe you all a great deal of thanks and gratitude for your selfless service to all of us. Thank you.

We also extend our support right now to our friends in the media, particularly those covering sport, and in our case, basketball. We can’t wait to hit the court once again and provide you with games to televise, write and talk about, and photograph. We know you are also going through tough times.

Our National Basketball League is 38-years strong and never have we faced a more challenging period. Basketball New Zealand, the Sal’s NBL management, both NBL Boards (men and women), along with all 14 NBL teams and 8 D-League teams, are focused and committed to the battle ahead. We are in this together.

The League feels fortunate to be supported by wonderful partners, including Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza, Sky Sports, Stuff and Basketball New Zealand, while our teams also enjoy enormous support from many valued sponsors as well. Every sponsor (League and teams) is important to us, as is every member and season ticket holder. Your continued support through this period is greatly appreciated.

We remain very optimistic about the immediate, medium and long-term future, though understand the strength of our response to the current situation must be led by resilience, creativity and collaboration, along with empathy and support. We will need to look towards adapting our business, reducing costs and preparing for changes. These challenges will require boldness, proactivity and positiveness. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures – it will be up to all of us to be prepared for change, to be open to new ways of conducting our business and how we deliver the game to our passionate and loyal fans, and viewers.

We remain mindful that more than 200 players, coaches, team staff, officials and administrators across the Sal’s NBL are seeking a return to work. They remain at the forefront of our minds, their health and safety being our highest priority and we hope this break in play is a short one.

While the Sal’s NBL is the pinnacle of our game in New Zealand for men and women, we also know basketball’s enormous participation base is also at a standstill right now.

Please be assured that we all share enormous love for this game and we can’t wait to see everyone back playing. To all the young boys and girls and wider community at home missing their regular basketball games – the great thing about this game is you can grab a ball and dribble, shoot and work on your skills by yourself. Stay active and work on your game. Practice, practice, practice. We hope to one day see you playing in the Sal’s NBL.

Season 2020 was to be a landmark one for the national women’s competition with all games being broadcast by Sky Sport and Sal’s joining as Naming Rights Partner for the formation of a true nation-wide League. We are determined to see this competition launched as soon as possible and ensure women’s basketball steps up to a higher platform in New Zealand sport, which it deserves.

The immediate plan for the Sal’s NBL Men, Women, D-League Women and 3X3 National Cup is to keep the window of opportunity for games open for as long as possible in 2020. This may mean that games are played as late as November or December.

We remain ready and prepared to get back on court this year, but it will only happen if it is feasible for our teams and doesn’t jeopardise their ability to be at the starting line for season 2021. The financial security of all teams is imperative.

We are looking at a broad range of competition models, some of which may look a bit different to what we have seen before. And, while 2020 is important to us, equally we have started working on 2021 and beyond. Planning for change is vital.

Basketball is so big in New Zealand, the participation and number of fans we have is exciting, so getting through COVID-19 with a professional and proactive approach will see us take great strides in future years.

Whenever we can return, we hope to do so with a sense of normality but right now we ask everyone to please follow the national guidelines, to stay safe, protect your family and community, and remain healthy.

We will make it through this together. We’ll be back in no time.


Justin Nelson

GM - Sal's NBL

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