Plans for a Tasmanian NBL presence has been in the works for weeks, but a recent announcement has firmed the intention that new club Southern Huskies could now join for the 2020-21 season.
Basketball Tasmania chief executive Chris McCoy had a final meeting with both NBL owner and chairman Larry Kestelman and chief executive Jeremy Loeliger on Monday about the possibility a side based out of Tasmania will be the tenth league club.
Kestelman happily talked up the state's hopes on Melbourne radio two days later.
"Now that it's been put in the limelight, as far as it's been publicly announced that they are researching and exploring Tasmania as that tenth team for possibly two years' time, it's now about seeing how the business case stacks up," McCoy said.
"It's about meetings with government and the Southern Huskies working into the equation - they have already shown great investment.
"It will be very important that we get good attendances at those New Zealand NBL games this year first.
"It's not only really exciting for the sport, it's a vote of confidence for the economy in the state and a vote of confidence for the level of basketball now in Tasmania."
The Huskies that will play five games at the Silverdome and also four at the Derwent Entertainment Centre signed a five-year deal in December with the New Zealand NBL from the 2019 season.
McCoy felt the inclusion of the Launceston Tornadoes, North West Thunder and also feeder side Hobart Huskies in the new NBL1 was an early indicator of Tasmania soon having only its second team in a professional national competition behind cricket.
"I certainly wasn't shocked by it all because that's what we had discussions over - could Tasmania possibly be a [NBL] team in the future and what sort of time frames could it be?" he said.
"The announcement was certainly fast, I would say, to getting to this point. By making it public and exploring it, this gives us a great opportunity to show our wares and see if we can make the business case stack up."
But Kestelman was guarded against expectations.
He has some doubts that Tasmania had the capabilities to run a full NBL program.
"I do think there is a case," Kestelman told SEN radio.
"I think it is a matter of everything coming together.
"So I think those sort of markets definitely need their biggest business involvement, which is government.
“I think Tasmania, purely standalone, might be a little bit challenging, but I think a combination of real NBL support, local business support, fans and government.
"So I think it is worth seriously considering it."
But Kestelman likes that the Huskies sharing their market throughout the state rather being a one-team city.
The Tasmanians initially had made a play for the NBL before crossing over to its New Zealand equivalent.
"The love of the game is definitely there and I think it could potentially be spread between Hobart and Launceston," he said.
"I think there is an opportunity, but I think we need to go through a proper process.
"We certainly have interest for more teams."
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