Over the past few years Thursday has become basketball day in New Zealand. It makes good commercial sense, in a lot of ways. Even with the occasional midweek game of Origin, Thursday’s normally clear of any other sport, except the least exciting game of NPC, and even that tends to neatly dovetail with the NBL/ANBL off-season. Tonight Phill Jones’ Nelson Giants (see starting 5 above) take on, uh, Dylan Boucher’s Auckland Stars (no z! do they not know the golden rule of NZ franchise naming? No wonder they nearly ran out of money last year).
Last year this would’ve been televised on Maori TV, and provide a good opportunity for the more gifted ballers amongst us to think ‘I could do better than that’. ‘More gifted’ in this context means anyone capable of shooting layups at over 60%. Anyway, it’s pretty fun watching the NBL, and I’d been looking forward to catching some games this year – only they’d been oddly absent. Well the reason can finally be revealed, buried near the bottom of a piece in today’s Herald, and it’s pretty f***ing amazing.
Apparently the coverage deal was all set to roll over, when the two sides reached a roadblock which could not be surpassed, leading to the lack of any television coverage at all for our national basketball comp. It’d have to be a pretty good reason huh? Recession making the expense untenable? The loss of a live sports camera unit to Super 14 coverage? The reappearance of Code, Maori TV’s award-winning sports show? Something like that, right?
Um, no. The deal “fell over when a former high ranking Basketball New Zealand executive insisted on presenting the coverage.”
Regular Shortland St viewers will notice an eerie parallel with chief exec Callum McKay’s desire to present the informational videos for the PCC. That particular scenario was derailed when the DHB selected the strong Polynesian jaw of TK Samuels, and McKay had the good grace not to tear the whole project down with him. No such devotion to the greater good from this organisation, apparently.
The best part of the Basketball NZ scandal? They’d had a deal in place with Sky, but turned them down after receiving a better offer from Maori TV. It was then that the exec made his demand, and when the channel (rightly) wouldn’t budge on having an actual presenter present the coverage, our sport’s governing body went back to Sky to ask if they’d step in. Only to be told, predictably, that the funds had already been allocated elsewhere.
Which is why there’s no basketball on TV tonight folks. New Zealand sports administration is officially our most retarded area of governance, making John ‘My Fair Lady’ Banks look like David Stern. Oh well.
PS – I know for a fact that one of our regular readers is a Maori TV employee… I think we need to name and shame this guy in the form of an anonymous comment. You know who you are, reader. And what you must do.