'SLEEPING GIANT' OF SPORT AWAKENS WITH LAUNCH OF NBL SEASON

'SLEEPING GIANT' OF SPORT AWAKENS WITH LAUNCH OF NBL SEASON

The National Basketball League's (NBL) 40th season was officially launched with a plan to become the biggest summer sport in Australia backed by a new deal with Fox Sports to broadcast every game live.

NBL male players joined the WNBL's female players on the rooftop of Crown Towers in Melbourne to officially launch the forthcoming season starting on October 5.

NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman says the sport is aiming to continue its recent resurgence is aiming to build on the momentum of its recent deal for three teams to play pre-season matches in North America's prestigious NBA.

"The sleeping giant of Australian sport is awake and we are coming. We want to be Australia's number one summer sport and one of the biggest sports in the country," Kestelman says.

"We have an opportunity to take basketball in Australia to the next level. To inspire a new generation of fans of the game. A game for all Australians."

He says the recent announcement that three NBL teams, Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and Brisbane Bullets, would play in next month's NBA pre-season showed the NBL was considered one of the best leagues in the world.

Sydney will play Utah Jazz on October 2, Melbourne play Oklahoma City Thunder on October 8 and Brisbane take on Phoenix Suns on October 13 to coincide with the start of the NBL season.

"There are about one million Australians playing the sport, we have a record number of Australians playing in the NBA and strong national teams in the Boomers and the Opals," Kestelman says.

"Over the past two years the NBL has enjoyed record crowds and established itself as one of Australia's leading forms of sports entertainment offering a world class experience for fans."

Fox Sports will broadcast live every game of the 2017-18 season.

The 2017-18 Season will feature more games across weekends and games on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve. It will also feature a new marquee Saturday twilight time slot of 5.30pm.

The NBL season will start on October 5 when Adelaide 36ers play Melbourne United at Titanium Security Arena.

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