Andrew Gaze
Andrew Gaze

Rich winter league might come in 2017

A NEW player on Australia's sporting landscape is angling to start a 10-week trans-Tasman professional winter league with some exciting rules, innovations and a guaranteed $1 million purse to the winning team.

The architect behind the concept told APN it needed to be driven by basketball fans, who would be able to interact by signing into the website

That website is to be officially launched today.

Championship League Basketball chief executive Matthew Hollard has already sounded out and enlisted the expertise of some top basketball brains to plan for a tip-off in August 2017.

Those offering advice and support include national head coach Andrej Lemanis, Utah Jazz player Joe Ingles, former Boomers great and Basketball Australia board member Andrew Gaze and former NBL coaches Bruce Palmer, Bob Turner, Cal Bruton and Brisbane legend Brian Kerle.

"The potential for a brand new league for the basketball landscape is extremely exciting and will be nothing short of a revolution ... we want fans to buy into the CLB," Hollard said.

The initial blueprint is for an eight-team competition, one in each major city, playing a home-and-away format. It would increase to 12 teams with the potential to extend into Asia - China has 350 million people either playing or supporting the game - by year three.

Games would be played on Wednesday and Sunday, either in the afternoon or evening, and televised live.

Hollard said each team would be subject to a stringent salary cap and points system to keep the competition even, with imports and marquee players part of each team's roster.

One CLB innovation would be the introduction of a "money ball" period, similar to a power play in cricket.

Each team would be allocated a three-minute period when each score would increase by one, with a free throw worth two points, a field basket three points and an outside shot four points.

Hollard said some NBL clubs had already expressed a keen interest in being part of the proposed competition, which would open the door for Australian players competing overseas in Europe and the US to come back and play at home.


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