NBL chief says TV deal, sponsors close

National Basketball League chief Larry Kestelman say key planks for the re-launching of the competition are close.

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Kestelman, who took a controlling stake in the league in May, says he’s expecting to land a television deal for the season, which begins in just six weeks.

“The TV deal is something that I believe we’re close on,” he said.

“We’ve got a number of wonderful announcements (to come) of corporate sponsors, naming rights – we’re working very hard.”

“I hope it looks as good from the outside as it is on the inside; the feeling is great, we’re going a million miles an hour until the start of the season.”

“Hard Ball” will be the league’s new slogan, with a new logo and fixtures for the eight-team league unveiled earlier in August.

While he’s running out of time before the season tips off in Adelaide on October 7, Kestelman was able to call on a high-profile backer for Australian basketball on Wednesday.

NBA and Boomers star Patty Mills was unveiled the first of several NBL `ambassadors’ at a Melbourne primary school on Wednesday morning.

Mills, the San Antonio Spurs point guard, said he hoped to work on building stronger links between multiculutral and indigenous communites and the sport.

“It’s important to stay in touch with the growth of the sport here and try to help out in any way I can … and teaming up with the NBL to do so is really important,” he said.

Kestelman said he recognised it was important to grow the links between the NBA and the Australian league.

“The players are the role models, and the NBL in my mind is a stepping stone to the NBA,” he said.

“We want to be the best that we can be but the ultimate goal for everyone is to play in the NBA and celebrate their success and that’s what we’re here to do.”