WNBL review recommends move to winter, shorter season in league shake-up
|21/06/2019||Posted by admin under 南京夜网||
TV coverage for the WNBL could be more problematic in the already cluttered winter season. Photo: Matt Bedford Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby. Photo: Matt Bedford
Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf insists the Women’s National Basketball League can co-exist with football codes if Basketball Australia presses forward with plans to return to winter.
She also called upon the league to make introducing a minimum player wage a priority and believes plans to cap player payments could hurt team’s chances of attracting big names like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor.
The WNBL is in line for the biggest shake-up in its history with playing the league from April to July and shortening the season the biggest changes under consideration.
Basketball Australia released the findings of the Australian Sports Commission’s WNBL review, which contains 53 recommendations to be assessed by a working party of representatives from clubs, the WNBL Commission and players.
While most recommendations won’t be implemented in time for next season, the main points include: Shortening the season to the teams playing each other twice, or 14-16 games depending on if the financially struggling Adelaide Lightning competes;Teams to play only one game every round;Finals in July including a three-game finals series, with the semi finals to possibly be played on a home and away aggregate basis;Maximum player payments per team capped at 40% of team revenues an up to a total of $200,000, with a marquee player excluded from the cap;More double headers with NBL games;The WNBL Commission to be disbanded and operation of the league handed back to Basketball Australia.
Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby.
But Graf said the issue is just one aspect of a more detailed debate which must take place before returning to winter.
“You have to look at everything, people’s obvious thoughts are we’d struggle in some markets to get media coverage [in winter],” Graf said.
“I’d like to think we’d get the same coverage [in Canberra] we do, even in football season.
“Clashing with the WNBA wouldn’t be an issue for us as only the top echelon of players go there, but we wouldn’t be competing with Europe where the big money is to keep our players here.
“There’s 10 or 12 big factors which would come under the debate of whether we go from summer to winter.
“It would take time to implement if it was seen as the way forward, but I think it’s worthy of long, lengthy discussion.”
The report has recommended capping player payments, presumably because Lighting’s future in doubt and the folding of Logan after the 2013-14 season.
Graf said it’s important to ensure the stability of clubs, but could hurt the chances of luring big name talent to play alongside a marquee player.
“Those governance things are in there to help clubs maintain stability but you should have that focus anyway, you don’t spend what you don’t have,” Graf said.
“Laying something over the top that restricts some of our world class athletes to play in the WNBL, I think that hurts the league mostly.
“Look at the impact those players [Jackson and Taylor] have on the profile of the league, why would we want to put something in place which prevents it?
“In this instance Cappie Pondexter and Penny probably couldn’t have played [together at Dandenong], making an assumption on what they earn.
“Logan didn’t go bust because they had two players on big salaries. In fact the teams who have done that, ourselves and Dandenong, are healthy financially and have been around a long time.”
Graf said bridging the huge gap in player payments from the top to bottom should be the priority.
“We still have our squad members on hardly anything. We need to raise the bottom end so we can progress things, and not put a limit on the top until it becomes an issue,” she said.
“Talking about restricting player salaries is inappropriate if we don’t first talk about minimum salary. A lot of players still get maybe a gym membership, and 500 dollars.”
Graf said the introduction of a three-game grand final series to bring it in line with overseas leagues was long overdue and could be implemented immediately.
She said it would showcase the league and give it bargaining power with broadcasters after the ABC scrapped its TV coverage after 35 years.
“It’s beyond time to have a best of three finals series,” she said.
“Everyone that’s hosted finals for many years had huge huge crowds, it looks great on TV and is the best product.”
Former NBL player Paul Maley has also been appointed general manager WNBL and Competitions, and will begin in late April.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.