Melbourne makes case for second NBL team

August 5, 2018 by  

The National Basketball League (NBL) has awarded an expansion franchise to Romie Chaudhari, a co-owner and board member of Swansea City Football Club in the UK, and this could lead to an interesting development in Melbourne.

Chaudhari is a Los Angeles-based investor and owns a stake in the Overwatch eSports franchise, among other undertakings. The ninth NBL team is set to make its debut in the 2019-2020 season.

Melbourne United won the just concluded NBL championship and there is a push among NBL followers, including NBL owner Larry Kestelman, to give Victoria a second team – given the success of the local team and sold out crowds at Hisense Arena – in the league. However, the league and Chaudhari have not provided details for the expansion team’s home base.

The biggest roadblock for Melbourne being named as the new team’s base is finding a suitable arena and training facility in the Victorian capital. Hisense Arena is a multipurpose venue and hosts the Australian Open tennis tournament and concerts throughout the year. If Chaudhari’s team chooses Melbourne, Hisense Arena might need to host games weekly for the two Melbourne-based teams during the full NBL season from October to February. Otherwise, a new basketball stadium might be required to host the new team’s home games and as a training facility.

In any case, the new NBL team will provide the Australian basketball scene with a new fanbase who will demand team merchandise to show their support, so no doubt the new team’s logo design will be on a multitude of promotional products once it takes to the court.