date_range Published 09 May 2019

For anyone wanting more information please contact franchise spokesperson Angela Ruske at 

Story: ODT 

For a mere $1000 you could own a slice of Otago basketball history.

The franchise is appealing to its core fans to help resurrect the region’s national basketball league presence.

It has been five years since the Otago Nuggets withdrew from the league due to financial difficulties.

Now an attempted return is gathering momentum.

Securing sponsorship - around $200,000 - remains the biggest obstacle to submitting a formal bid for entry to next year’s league by May 31.

Its first target is to secure a start-up with between 35 and 50 founding members chipping in $1000 each.

With that it will employ someone to actively seek the remaining amount.

The franchise group’s spokeswoman Angela Ruske said those founding members would,

in essence, become part-shareholders in the franchise.

From there it would require another $150,000-$165,000.

Different levels of sponsorship would be available to interested parties to make that up.

Notably the franchise was targeting three platinum ($20,000) sponsors, alongside 10 $6500 sponsors.

Whether that could be done before the end of the month remained questionable.

If it is not ready, the group will continue working towards a bid next year - a move which now has the support of the NBL.

A basic business plan had been drawn up, which fitted the league’s criteria, although it still had some finer points to iron out.

It would need final approval from the Basketball Otago board, but early indications were positive.

Funding remained the big hurdle and while Ruske admitted time was scarce, she said it could happen this year if things progressed quickly.

'’We are running a bit thin [on time], but I’ve talked with [NBL general manager] Justin Nelson.

'’It depends how long it takes to get that founding member sponsorship in.

'’If we can get that in pretty quickly - a week or two - we could employ that person to go and door-knock.

'’We’d have an idea of how much interest there is out there, if the chat is going to turn into real commitment from different businesses.

'’The key thing, I think, is getting that initial start-up funding so we can get that person employed to give us the answer.’’

The NBL has nine teams at present and is looking to grow to between 10 and 12.

It invited expressions of interest to make formal bids and late last month it invited six entities to make formal bids.

Alongside Otago, there were an additional three from the North Island and two from Australia.

Ruske said the league had been helpful through the process and did not want Otago to rush its bid.

It was after a five-year commitment from applicants.

While that was not an insignificant amount of time, Ruske also said exposure from the league was increasing.

'’They do want a five-year commitment and they’re also increasing their fees.

'’But they’re also increasing their advertising.

'’Now is a good time for sponsors to jump on board with it being through Sky [television] and everything else.

'’I think we’re in a good space in terms of being able to promote something to our potential sponsors, with the advertising that comes with all that Sky coverage.’’