NBL signs MOU with Japanese counterpart B.LEAGUE
The National Basketball League (NBL) and the Japan Professional Basketball League (B.LEAGUE) on Sunday announced the signing of a strategic Memorandum of Understanding set to see the two leagues work more closely to promote the growth of the sport and their respective competitions in both countries.
Under the arrangement, the organisations have agreed to explore the feasibility of Japanese BLG teams competing in NBL pre-season competitions from 2024, as well as youth club teams from Japan taking part in competitions in Australia.
NBL teams could also travel to Japan to compete in the BLG pre-season as part of the deal.
The MoU also contemplates the NBL and B.LEAGUE partnering to explore the viability of a team from Japan participating in the NBL.
“Making the NBL a more relevant product outside of Australia has been a significant component of our growth strategy since 2015, and we have always seen incredible potential in Japan where we have fostered and enjoyed wonderful relationships with our counterparts from the B.LEAGUE,” NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
“Discussions with the BLG have already been extremely positive and we look forward to them continuing in the future. I would like to specifically thank Chairman Shimada for his ongoing support and innovative approach.
“We share very similar values and together we believe we can make a big difference to basketball in the region.”
The exciting announcement will also encourage a greater relationship between the Leagues and the broader basketball communities in Australia and Japan.
“We have formed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the BLG, which has led us to this wonderful announcement that is designed to formally acknowledge and progress our previous and recent discussions,” NBL chief executive officer David Stevenson said.
“This includes bringing to life some innovative initiatives that will increase our on and off-court reach and make basketball more attractive and engaging across both regions.
“We are looking forward to working together with the BLG, with one of the more exciting possibilities being the potential of a Japanese team one day joining the NBL – and while there remains a lot to work through yet in that regard, we are enthused by the possibilities of what may eventuate.
"We thank Chairman Shimada for his spirit of partnership and look forward to the exciting journey ahead.”
“I am very supportive of a vision where teams from Asia play in the NBL, with the support of FIBA and Basketball Australia,” NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman said.
“The exciting partnership between the NBL and BLG will help grow basketball in both regions, while also providing greater opportunities for players from those regions to take the well-established NBL to NBA pathway.
“The NBL has proven to be one of the best avenues to the NBA, and growing the League internationally will expose more players to that pathway.”
The B.LEAGUE’s chairman Shimada says the B.LEAGUE stands to benefit greatly from a formal agreement with the NBL.
“We believe that this MOU will be a great boost for B.LEAGUE as we aim to become ‘one of the biggest and best leagues in the world’, and we expect that partnering with the NBL, which has attracted worldwide attention and created many NBA players, will lead to the development of the B.LEAGUE in various ways,” chairman Shimada said.
“In terms of competition, it will provide opportunities for Japanese players to play at a higher level, and we believe that it will also be a good opportunity for mutual business development in both countries.
“NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger and other NBL officials have high expectations for the development of the basketball leagues in both countries.
"I hope that this partnership continues to grow and strengthen and together we will make the most of every opportunity and stand together to withstand any challenges.”
The agreement also considers:
- Involvement of BLG referees and officials in the NBL pre-season
- BLG teams participating in community events, activations, and coaching clinics
- Joint activations between the Leagues
- Junior basketball clubs from Australia and Japan participating in tournaments held in each country