NRL and AFL broadcasting deals are all the rage at the moment, but they are dwarfed by a new NBL broadcasting deal. The NBL has partnered with Fox Sports and sure this deal doesn't dwarf the other two in financial terms but it does in how important it will be as Fox Sports will broadcast NBL games in the prime-time slot of 7:30pm AEDT.
Coming with the broadcast deal, which will ensure that the NBL is easily accessible for basketball fans across Australia, is news that the NBL has attracted a major sponsor as well. Chemist Wharehouse, which is apparently a wharehouse for all sorts of different drugs and what not which means the NBL has now received a double dose of financial support. The NBL is also expected to announce that one game a week will be shown on a free-to-air channel in Australia which is also great news as it puts the NBL into the lounges of those without pay-TV.
Things have always slightly on edge business-wise with the NBL as they are the underdog in a highly competitive sporting market. It's hard to ignore the popularity of basketball in both Australia and Aotearoa though, which is why we wait with interest to see what happens with the broadcasting rights here in Aotearoa. Sky Sport will probably pick up the games from Fox, which is cool and all but as always I'd like to see a greater online offering - maybe Breakers games on Sky and other NBL games shown online?
It does feel like as a kiwi, every time these deals have been announced I get a bit of #FOMO. We have to wait and see what Sky Sport do and as always, we have to just accept what they give us while Australians have been graced with a smorgasbord of sport to enjoy whether they can afford to splash on pay-TV or not.
Whatever, the NBL is growing and it's great.
One of the more troubling bits of news from earlier this week has been the possibility that the Springboks could be forced to skip the World Cup. South Africa, as we all know has a far sketchier past than many other rugby playing countries and it seems as though they are still trying to find a nice middle ground where everyone can be happy.
There are many in South Africa who feel as though the Springboks still isn't a fair reflection of society, which is why such a fuss has been kicked up leading into the World Cup. I won't get into the nitty gritty as it's hard for someone like me, a 24 year old lad from South Auckland to understand the history and emotions involved here, but hearing of this news I had a little moment of reflection.
How do I feel about racial quotas in sports?
These sorts of quota systems saw Kevin Pietersen leave South Africa and move to England, in an example of why quota systems don't work - the best players aren't selected. However, to see a South African sporting team that only includes white players, even if they are the best, would be very odd and I can't imagine that South Africans would be too happy.
This Springboks World Cup squad includes nine black players who are hopefully all there on merit and not because some quota system exists. Does that make me racist because I think that perhaps the white players might be better at the specific jobs required for this team? I think not. Especially when this Springboks squad includes Tendai Mtawarira and JP Pietersen who are respected international rugby players, they aren't players filling out the roster thanks to a quota, they are so much more than that.
If I were a young pup, I'd look at Mtawarira aka The Beast and see a hero, a role model and someone I can aspire to be. This is where I have come to form an opinion on the ol' quota thingy as both white and black kids can look at Mtawarira and be inspired by what he's done. Maybe this isn't the job of a sports team to lead the way or follow a set of guidelines to reflect society, maybe it is how that team and the players are viewed by society.
Maybe all of this kerfuffle shows that many of the same problems still exist and that in South Africa, like many other countries there is still an underbelly of racism. I don't know, I just know that when you try to use sport as a beacon of change, it doesn't quite work. You can't force it, sport has a weird way of being a beacon of change itself.
Regardless, the 'Boks will be at the World Cup and this issue will once again be pushed aside. I don't really have a problem with that though, does that make me a racist? Well given I get a strange amount of joy seeing all the Springboks players, regardless of their skin colour smiling and enjoying each other's company ... no. And that's the thing, it's not as though the black players hate the white players and they have to stay over here and can't eat this or that ya know? Things are actually pretty good in my eyes.
Something else I know very little about is Deflategate, but that doesn't stop me from having an opinion - it's dumb.
I feel like we are in one of those sporting lulls where the sporting world slows down slightly. It won't last long folks so enjoy a weekend with slightly less sporting goodness to enjoy, go out and enjoy a leisurely activity of some sort.