I love it when sporting leagues or competitions spice things up a bit in an attempt to stay relevant, which is becoming harder and harder to do. Or is it? Have we just been missing a bit of innovation and creativity? I take the latter option here because us kiwis are generally behind the eight-ball in everything on a world scale and we also have a rather comfortable situation with a certain sports broadcaster. There's no real need for the traditionally dominant sports to switch things up and be creative.
Sports like basketball and leagues like the NBL are on the fringe. Both here at in Australia, the NBL falls behind any major winter sport and in summer it finds itself chillin' in second behind the summer sport of both nations in cricket. But we all love basketball and basketball is a sport that is far bigger around our beautiful planet that rugby, rugby league, netball or cricket, which is why I will be watching with interest to see how the NBL's new scheduling and broadcasting intentions come to fruition.
The NBL have recent said that they will be scheduling games five nights a week, Wednesday to Sunday in a shorter competition. This will see it miss the crossover with the major winter leagues and give it a presence throughout the week instead of just on weekends, which pretty much every Australasian league has tried at some stage - Monday night NRL etc.
Also, the NBL have stated that they will be trying to set up a one-stop shop digital offering for basketball, which is where the intrigue lies for me. It's hard to make say much else because it's all a bit wait and see, but I'm definitely eager to see what they dish up because no other sport or league in Australasia has really done this digital thing right.
Rugby? There's jack-shit, which is fine because all of us young-interweb-savvy youngsterrs can find all sorts of replays, highlights and general bits and pieces. But there's been little creativity shown by any rugby folk.
Rugby League? They try, but suck. I mean, you pay for a digital pass and can only watch a replay in the 24 hours after that game has been played. Who the fuck thought up that idea?
Netball? Not bad, but they are hamstrung by the national pay-tv broadcaster. All good for us crafty youngsters though.
Cricket? Well Cricket.com.au is what I see the NBL trying to replicate, which is great. The Aussies have nailed it with some online content and news from the wider cricketing world. Compare this to the Black Caps site and yeah ... I'm not signing up for nothing.
Thanks to how far behind we are in this part of the world, the NBL has an opportunity to get some leverage here if they do things smartly and well, don't expect us to pay for all sorts of shit we can get for free elsewhere. That's the general issue for these folk - they try so hard to get us to pay for stuff that is there in the vast interwebs, available for free. The NBL has an opportunity, but so do the NRL with their new broadcast deal on the cards, but who needs to be creative and is for lack of a better term, more desperate? The NBL, which should give us something funky.
We all love it when an almost-NBA guy wants to head down under. The Sydney Kings have signed Marcus Thornton, the 45th pick in this year's NBA Draft and who knows, we could see more and more almost-NBA players head down under to keep their careers going instead of going to Europe or Asia. A bit more money would be needed, but that's where the creativity comes in.
Interestingly, the NBL does have a few pros which these sorts of almost-NBA players might consider. The NBL has a much shorter season which would allow Thornton to go back and play in the NBA's D-League after the NBL season has finished, with the NBL being far less intense, he'd be raring to go. Throw in the fact that Australia isn't too bad a place to live and who knows, it could become the thing to do.
Netball could be a similar case-study to basketball, but it's much bigger here in Aotearoa so it kinda stands alone on the ladies side of things. I'm excited for the upcoming World Cup, but it's hard to put that excitement into action right now when the Silver Ferns beat Fiji convincingly and will continue to do so across their three-match 'warm up' series.
I appreciate the series and why it is going down, but I'm not going to watch it and I doubt many other people will.
I always like to ponder why we're so good at sports that less than five countries in the world are really good at. It's a bit dumb, but also cool in a way.
Hi-5's to the Black Sticks ladies who have had their qualification for the Rio Olympics confirmed. And if we're continuing down this digital path - hi-5 to the FIH (hockey overlords) who have a great Youtube set up and to Hockey NZ who have been known to stream games live FOR FREEEEEEE.
Things are coming to a climax in the NRL, not on the field but off it. Chris Sandow has been released to head to England and join Warrington while there are also reports that Geoff Toovey will be given the flick at some stage over the weekend. Easily two of the most mental stories of 2015, easily.
What makes this even more funnier is that there are reports that the Parramatta Eels could find themselves in more salary cap dramas. It's alleged that a whole bunch of cheeky payments were made to players, including Jarryd Hayne through a variety of bank accounts under previous administration. It's hard to get angry about any of this, it's just really, really, really funny.
Hi-5 to the Parramatta Eels for being the worst run professional sports team in Australasia.
Don't sleep on the Tall Blacks, they face Great Britain over the weekend in London which starts their European tour.
Wait, this dude scored that goal but stops them as well? Shit the bed.