|Neil Campbell, UL Eagles, in action against Martins Provizors, DCU Saints in the 2012 Final of the Nivea Mens SuperLeague.|
A breath of fresh air has gone through Basketball Ireland.
At a meeting in the National Basketball Arena on 31 May, Secretary General Bernard O'Byrne presented the federation's vision of the future of Irish Basketball.
"Over the past few months Basketball Ireland has carried out a SWOT analysis of the SuperLeague and we feel it's time for change," O'Byrne said to the newspaper ‘Evening Echo'.
As a result, club delegates were presented with a slide show summarising O'Byrne's ideas.
Under the title ‘Super-League: A time and an opportunity to revitalise' several proposals were made regarding the structure and the image of the league.
According to O'Byrne these changes are important in order to compete with other sports such as rugby and football.
He is hoping to create a one division league with a new fixture format.
Each team should play a total of 27 games: 11 games on home soil, 11 games away and five at the National Basketball Arena, which would ensure the national stadium would be fully utilized for top class basketball on a consistent and regular basis.
Up to now, the eight teams of the Nivea Mens SuperLeague have been divided into two conferences, the Southern and Northern Conference, with the four best teams advancing to the play-offs.
"There will be no play-offs at the top. Play-offs will happen between the bottom two sides with the loser forced to reapply to stay in the league," the Secretary General said.
Another idea sees the formation of a new league cup between the top flight and the Division 1 league.
"It would bring the SuperLeague into the heart of communities in Ireland", O'Byrne stated.
There is an additional motivation to win this new competition.
"The winners, up to 16 people, will win a prize of an all-inclusive trip to the EuroBasket in Slovenia in 2013, including playing a friendly fixture against a local league team."
The new proposal also includes a new approach to marquee player identification and funding.
"Under the new structure proposed we will become involved in the recruitment of American or marquee players for the SuperLeague teams.
"We will formalise the recruitment of American players and the league will pay for 10 players each season," O'Byrne explained.
|According to the new proposal there will be one league game every weekend in the National Basketball Stadium in Tymon Park, Dublin.|
The goal is to make the SuperLeage a highly attractive competition, for fans, sponsors and media.
Last season, Basketball Ireland has already signed media deals with national paper ‘Irish Daily Star' and ‘Setanta Sports', Ireland's leading premium sports broadcaster.
Such deals as well as the planned changes lay the foundation for a bright future.
"We will most likely re-brand the SuperLeague with a fresh impetus and a new image," O'Byrne concluded.
Now it is the clubs' turn. The delegates have been asked to submit further suggestions and ideas to Basketball Ireland by mid-June.
The final decision is scheduled for 23 June. The final proposal will then be presented to the SuperLeague convention.