I have been a faithful follower of Canadian basketball since Halifax Rainmen, Manchester Millrats (later moved to Saint John) and Quebec Kebs decided to join the PBL over 5 years. I've covered the league since the output of the PBL Halifax Rainmen, Saint John Mill Rats, Quebec Kebs create the NBL of Canada along with London Lightning, Oshawa Power (now in Mississauga), Summerside Storm (now in Charlottetown) and Moncton Miracles 2011. The talent on the court the league has grown exponentially in these last few years, however, the organization of the league has failed to take steps to bring the competition to the next level. The league is in danger of stalling. The league needs restructuring, needs a roadmap in the short and medium term to help create a viability plan with clear objectives for sustainable and "visible" to the league.
The strengths of the league are talented players and coaches who congregate each night in the fields of Canadian franchises. No doubt the league provides a good show by which it is worth paying a ticket. In my opinion, the league has a big market in London where the franchise has proved a resounding success. Moreover, the league has achieved some stability in the maritime franchises after 3 years.
However, the link presents a series of important weaknesses. No doubt the lack of a television contract is the most serious. No television league operates outside of Canadian society, living in the underground. Other weaknesses of these emerging leagues, franchises experiencing financial problems, have difficulty getting sponsors and do not have a marketing plan to attract crowds to home games. Low attendance at the arenas that do not cover the costs of the lease agreement. The instability of the franchise, we have examples in the franchises folded as Kebs, Montreal Jazz or relocation of the Power of Oshawa to Mississauga. In fact, Express and Skyhawks expressed (in press) uncertainty about their future.
Some key points to improve in the league feasibility aspects, organization:
A sporting event, a competition or tournament is known or exists as it is on TV or out in the media or press. In the present case, the NBL of Canada has no national television contract level (except some games televised locally) and this is the first season you can watch the games live over the Internet. No TV contract the league does not exist for most Canadians. A television contract must be a priority for the league, to be known and acquire sponsors.
In a sensational interview DallaCosta Morris in London Free Press a figure credited as Leo Rautins (Commentator Raptors NBA, former Canadian coach), who thinks about the NBL and exposure. Leo Rautins' interview on LFP:
“You are irrelevant until you are on TV but no one is going to put you on TV because you are irrelevant,” Rautins said. “Pay to be on TV. If it was me, I’d have a 15-game package. The games would all be here (London) or in Halifax or wherever the crowd and environment works. You’ll see every team but you’ll see them in the right type of environment.”
Rautins said it’s not a slight to any other team or area but it’s a matter of making the product as attractive as possible.
“You pay for the package and every team has to pay it share,” he said. “What else are you spending your money on? Whatever else you are spending your money on, isn’t working. If every team spends this money so they can be relevant, it changes the whole thing.”
INTERNET (SOCIAL NETWORKS), IMPACT ON THE MEDIA (WRITTEN & DIGITAL)
The NBL has some presence on the Internet, but not enough in my opinion, at least in the aspect of relevant information. The league has a presence on social networks like twitter or facebook, but should promote a youtube channel where you could access past games, interviews and more coverage of the news in videos. This is the first of the 3 seasons of existence of the league in which you can see all league games on streaming. He is a solid step forward, but. I think radodifusión be improved, but we appreciate the work Sportlive24 / NBL24, especially when the London Free Press reveals defaults by the league for the broadcasts of the games and the last draft. The League coverage by the press or on Internet is very uneven. While there are a couple of well covered franchises and providing valuable information and opinion, such as Halifax Rainmen and London Lightning, other franchises have poor coverage.
ORGANIZATION OF THE LEAGUE
With respect to the Commissioner of the league has been a pending issue. I think the former Commissioner John Kennedy could do something, but he left for personal reasons. The league commissioner needs a leader who has failed at this time. The current commissioner Paul Riley is unable to fill those shoes. I agree with what you said the owner of the Skyhawks, Gus Takkale on review of Riley's and the NBL's front-office job performance. However, I think after the erratic way to solve the issue "DallaCosta" and emails, he should resign. On the other hand, I recover Leo Rautins opinion on what should be a commissioner of the NBL. Leo Rautins' interview on LFP:
Rautins also touched on the need to have a strong commissioner.
"David Stern (former NBA commissioner) had relationships with all the owners but they knew who was in charge," he said. "There’s nothing like that right now (in the NBL). It’s kind of like the blind leading the blind.
"You need someone to say This is the way it’s going to be done."
SCHEDULE / ARENA LEASE AGREENMENT / PLAYOFFS FORMAT
In my opinion is very important to do a better schedule, better home game dates and at weekend. The franchises fights against QMJHL, against weather and against very bad lease agreement. I don't know if relocate the league to summer is the answer. There isn't Hockey competition, any cancellations games due to bad time... It's true, but London has demostrated than they can win to Hockey. The league must talk about schedule changes, less games, stars the league before (september) or after (april). According to my latest information, the league might consider delaying the start of the league January to April (reduced from 6 to 4 months the competition).
Also it's true than majority franchises marketing plan need to improve and sign better lease agreement and places with a logical number of seats (2500-3000) and more near to potential fans. The league have to take decisions when 4 of 9 franchises are very below of 1200 people per game minimum necessary to maintain the team. It's necessary / cost effective will play 40-games-schedule? It is said that franchises need at least 20 home dates for profitable product, but 4 of the 9 franchises attract much less than 1000 people per night so they lose money every time the lights come on the court. In this respect, as the reduction consecencia 6-4 months of competition, the league reduced schedule of 40 regular season games (current) at 30-32, 15-16 home games.
Current playoff format has almost totally inconsequential 40 regular-season games because all teams made?? the postseason. Last season franchises had a incredible fight to make the playoffs until last regular season game, 3 teams (finalist included) say good bye to post season. This season, regular season seems a long pre-season to advance to playoffs. I think the league must come back a elimination format, best 2 teams of both division with semifials best-of-five and final best-of-seven.
FINANCIAL TROUBLE / SALARY CAP / MINIMUM CANADIAN PLAYERS
Anybody make a living in the NBL of Canada. Franchises pay a little bit a his players and don't can compete with overseas league. League salary cap of 150000 $ is very scarce, but it's a conditioning to financial stability of franchises. If salary cap increase will be a franchise fold I say is not a solution. It is an open secret that there are certain franchises in the league who have financial difficulties. Dartis Willis said his franchise lost $ 370,000 last season, while Skyhaws owner Gus Takkale said nefarious lease agreement (Canadian Tire Centre) will produce significant losses due to poor attendance (other than the payment of the fee income of league of around $ 300,000). None of the teams have secured flatly returning next year as its manifestations in press. Recall that London franchise owner Vito Frijia revealed had financially helped other franchises.
Regarding the minimum number of Canadian players per team has been found in the three seasons since the birth of the league, it's just an administrative matter with no real intention on focusing on the development of the local player. This is not a criticism, this is a league that's trying to be professional and talented in USA at a very low price. Canadians talented players to compete in the league are usually more expensive having a market American players of great talent and happy to accept the contract (really low). From this new point of view, I think it makes sense to maintain the rule of Canadian players to wave towels in the deepest bench. Whether this rule would have probably half of Canadians or less on the charts, but it would be more in line with reality.
DRAFT / ALL STARS WEEKEND
My opinion is well known, after three Drafts the conclusion is that only the first round is taken into account and as role players mostly. I think it would be quite a single round and the other players not selected in the draft would become free agents.
With respect to the "All Stars Weekend" is a spent more time even when the formula has already been completed. This season, after the celebrations John'13 Halifax'12 and Sain, the refusal of London made ??the All Star was a hot potato. I firmly believe that the current format of All Stars Weelend is completely dispensable.
I think this the least of the problems that the league should address in the coming months.
Thanks and good bye