Tasmanian NBL team and DEC upgrade confirmed
The National Basketball League has announced Tasmania will become the 10th franchise, with the new team to enter the league for the 2021/22 season.
Under the landmark agreement, the Tasmanian Government will become the sponsor of the new NBL team and undertake a significant redevelopment of the Derwent Entertainment Centre (DEC) in Hobart.
The DEC and Wilkinsons Point was sold by the Glenorchy City Council to the government for $8 million on Friday who’ll then invest $40 million to upgrade the facility to bring it up to NBL standard, plus the construction of a new $20 million four-court indoor multi-sport facility.
Kestelman plans to create a $200 million shopping, restaurant and hotel precinct at Wilkinsons Point which will “change the face of Glenorchy forever” accordingly to Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein.
The new club will play the majority of its games in Hobart but will also play some games in the north of the state, with 4,000-capacity Silverdome the likely alternative venue.
The deal is expected to create nearly 1200 jobs and generate $100 million worth of direct economic activity.
The redevelopment of the Derwent Entertainment Centre will start in August this year and have just 12 months to be completed for Tasmania to compete in the 2021-22 season.
Built in 1989, the 5,400-capacity indoor arena was the home of former NBL team Tassie Devils until 1996 and has in recent times played host to home games for the Southern Huskies who played in the New Zealand basketball league until the club folded late last year. It also hosted matches during the NBL Blitz prior to the current season.
While specific details of the DEC redevelopment are yet to be revealed, plans revealed by a previous consortium included a revamped court and exterior, 1600 new premium seats, new changeroom facilities as well as an integrated hotel.
The government will be the yet-to-be-named team’s major sponsor to the tune of $2 million a year for the first five years with the option to extend to 10 years. The new franchise will join a select list of teams that represent the state on the national stage, including the Hobart Hurricanes BBL franchise.
The NBL has been riding a wave of success in recent years with crowds and viewer numbers on the rise. This season has seen average crowds rise by 8% and total crowds by 21% following the introduction of new team South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Three different Tasmania-based franchises have previously participated in the NBL, all of which no longer operate: the Launceston Casino City Tigers (from 1980-1982), the Devonport Warriors (in 1983 and 1984) and the Hobart Devils (from 1983 to 1996).