Well this is a massive bump...but my prediction of the Hunter Pirates and one of the Melbourne teams was correct
Nostradamus strikes again
BTW good to see Hunters Crowds were up last week...good sign.
Hunter faces NBL axe
By Laine Clark
January 10, 2006
THE axe is hovering over NBL club Hunter Pirates after suffering a crippling $850,000 loss this season.
Pirates chairman John O'Brien said if a major sponsor was not found in the next three weeks, Hunter - in only its third season - faced the prospect of losing its licence.
The NBL finalises its 2006-07 draw at the end of January and needs a final word on the Pirates' financial plight by then.
"We have to find a naming sponsor. We need someone who will come in with $300,000 a year for three years so the whole thing can get up and running," O'Brien said.
"The crunch is, the league needs to do a draw and its make-up depends on us.
"So we need to get on our bike and get things organised.
"If we can't see our way to getting a sponsor, we will have to look to sell the licence off.
"It would be a dormant licence because we don't have anyone who wants the licence to play next year."
O'Brien and Newcastle basketball greats Michael Johnson and Butch Hays are helping run the club after the Pirates management team of Nick and Helen Buvinic resigned on Sunday night.
"At a meeting of shareholders they (Buvinics) fell on their sword because we had been running at a very large deficit," O'Brien said.
"They worked hard but they weren't successful in getting the revenue or the patrons.
"Perhaps we should have moved earlier but everyone is wise in hindsight.
"Unfortunately the budget shortfall was enormous, so we needed to step in, take over the management and assure our players and staff that everyone will get paid."
Hunter burst into the NBL in the 2003-04 season after collecting the licence from the now defunct Canberra Cannons.
Now Hunter faces the sobering prospect of losing its licence after poor crowds and sponsorship this season despite on-court success - it is in the top eight and looks set for its second straight finals campaign.
Hays took over game day operations for last Saturday night's clash against Brisbane and enjoyed immediate results with more than 3500 people attending - almost 2000 more than their home crowd average.
"We changed things for the last game and brought back Butch Hays who we originally bought the licence from, and we went from 1500 to 3500 people at the stadium," O'Brien said.
"If we can do that next Sunday (against the Sydney Kings) we are on the way - the main aim though is getting a major sponsor by the end of the month.
"Before the playoffs start ideally we want to know where we are.
"We are working hard on it at the moment - we are not leaving any stone unturned."
Hunter's financial plight would provide a sense of deja vu for Pirates players Ben Melmeth and Geordie Cullen.
Melmeth was a member of the NBL club Newcastle Falcons which folded in 1999 while Cullen played for Canberra.
The Pirates travel to Wollongong on Friday night before returning home to meet three-time defending champions the Kings on Sunday night.