Tasmania NBL entry could be delayed

NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger is unsure if Tasmania's entry will be delayed by the coronavirus crisis.
NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger is unsure if Tasmania's entry will be delayed by the coronavirus crisis.

The NBL remains committed to bringing Tasmania into the league next year but is prepared to be flexible to ensure the expansion team's viability amid dire financial circumstances.

In February, the NBL announced Tasmania would enter as the competition's 10th team for the 2021-22 season.

It was agreed that the Tasmanian government would be the major sponsor of the team and would fund an upgrade of Hobart's Derwent Entertainment Centre.

Works on the upgrade were due to start this year to guarantee the venue is ready for October 2021.

But the drastically altered financial landscape and government priorities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic could yet move that timeline.

"We haven't had any definitive update in terms of it not proceeding as intended," NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger told AAP.

"At the moment we're proceeding on the basis that we announced recently."

But Loeliger said the NBL is also mindful that sport is not the top priority at this point in time.

"It's an important part of our lives but it's not the be all and end all," he said.

"There are many other individuals and businesses out there who are doing it tough and quite rightly should be a priority for governments, state and federal.

"So if there are some competing pressures that result in a Tasmanian club maybe coming into the competition 12 months later or whatever it might be, we'll sit down and work through that with government.

"We'll make sure that we do everything we can to be supportive of the state and the community in Tasmania at this difficult time."

Loeliger said the NBL would do everything it can to keep the existing nine clubs alive during the COVID-19 crisis.

Australian Associated Press