The NBL will hold its preseason Blitz tournament in Brisbane as it gauges support for the city’s return to the league after the Bullets folded in 2008.
The National Basketball League’s boss says his job is on the line if he doesn’t get a Brisbane team back in the competition.
It’s one of the reasons NBL CEO Fraser Neill is so confident the Queensland capital will have a team start in the 2015/16 season.
“It’s one of my three KPIs (key performance indicators) in my job to get a team set up in Brisbane,” Neill told reporters while in the city on Tuesday to announce it would host the NBL’s pre-season Blitz tournament.
“So personally I’ve got a lot of interest in making it happen.”
Brisbane hasn’t had a team in the NBL since the Bullets folded in 2008.
Neill said he had spent months speaking with potential investors and was confident a Brisbane-based team would enter the competition without any financial backing from the league, just like the eight current franchises.
Any business plan, including community-based models, would have to prove its long-term viability, with annual operating costs around $3-4 million a year, he said.
Neill said the new Brisbane team would not necessarily have the iconic Bullets name either.
But Bullets legend Leroy Loggins, who was also on hand to announce the Blitz, didn’t seem to mind.
“I don’t care what you call it … as long as we get a team here – that’s more important,” he said.
The three-time NBL MVP laughed off suggestions he could revive his retired No.30 jersey, but said he would love to be involved in the new Brisbane franchise in an off-court capacity.
“Maybe (I could) build a link-up between the indigenous community and professional basketball,” he said.
“I think that’s been lacking.”
Brisbane’s Auchenflower Stadium will host the Blitz from September 19-21, when all eight teams will play for the Loggins-Bruton Cup.
Neill said it made sense to host the preseason tournament in the city, which has been starved of top-flight basketball action, to gauge public interest for a new NBL team.