The Glenorchy City Council has agreed to enter an exclusive negotiation with the Owner and Executive Chairman of the Hungry Jack’s National Basketball League Larry Kestelman to purchase the Derwent Entertainment Centre (DEC) and Wilkinsons Point.
Mr Kestelman said: “The NBL is looking to expand the competition and a 10thteam in Tasmania is something we will now consider providing we can reach agreement with Glenorchy City Council on DEC and Wilkinsons Point.
“Tasmanians are passionate about sport and crying out for more of their own teams in national sporting leagues and we believe it’s something that fans are ready for and will embrace. We want basketball to be the number one sport in Tasmania.
“We want this to be Tasmania’s own team and be embedded in this unique part of Australia. We propose that games would be played at DEC but we would also consider playing games in Launceston provided there is an appropriate venue to host NBL games. Most importantly this must be a team for all of Tasmania and have a presence across the state.
“I have already met with the State Government including Premier Will Hodgman and will meet with them again next week. It is crucial that the NBL partner with the Government if there is to be a team in Tasmania.
“Basketball is a global sport and the NBL is a global brand and there is a need for a significant upgrade to DEC so it can be brought up to world class standard for players and fans. We would look to the State Government to support this upgrade and the team moving forward.
“This would enhance the venue and help attract more world class events but also enable it to become the home of basketball in Tasmania and a facility the whole community can enjoy.
“We will also seek appropriate investment from other potential stakeholders and work with Basketball Tasmania and other interested parties. We believe there will be significant interest given the potential opportunity to be involved in a new franchise.
“There has never been a more exciting time for Australian basketball. The NBL enjoyed record attendances and broadcast audiences last season and this is a golden era for the game with record participation and Australian players starring in the NBA and WNBA.
“In August the Boomers will play the USA in front of 100,000 fans in Melbourne ahead of the NBL season in which we will welcome our ninth team South East Melbourne Phoenix and new stars to our league in RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball.
“We now look forward to progressing negotiations with Glenorchy City Council and working with the Tasmanian Government. This will determine the time frame for the entry of a new team.”