BASKETBALL AUSTRALIA chief executive Larry Sengstock says their absence this season has shown it is imperative Sydney has a team in next year’s national competition and he is confident that will be the case.For the first time since the National Basketball League began in 1979, Sydney and Brisbane are not represented this season in the new-look, eight-team competition, and as a direct result, coverage and exposure of the game is almost non-existent in the city, something Sengstock says needs to change.”Yeah, it is imperative,” he said. ”It’s obvious from all we have seen in the marketplace here in Sydney, we desperately need to do it [get a team]. It’s one of those things we recognise we need to have and we’re putting a lot of effort into it.”Our primary focus is to get the best commercial outcome from a broadcast partner and in order to do that we have to have the major markets filled. We have to have Brisbane and Sydney, and we believe there is also an opportunity in Melbourne for a second team as well.”Certainly Sydney and Brisbane are the two keys, that’s what we are being told as well from the broadcasters’ point of view. That’s still our priority and we’re doing everything we possibly can right now to ensure that becomes a reality for next season.”We’re in discussions now with some people and while we want to keep that under wraps at this time, it’s all heading in the right direction and looking positive.”It would not be surprising for NBL broadcaster Fox Sports to be pushing for a team in the biggest market in the country, but Sengstock said that was not the case and his organisation was not being pressured.”There is no pressure but we know from a broadcasters’ point of view, that’s [Sydney and Brisbane] their market. If they are looking to get the most exposure and most money out their rights’ deal, they are their biggest markets,” he said.What won’t be changing is the season from summer back to its old timeslot of winter.
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