MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 11: A General View of Hisense Arena during the round six NBL match between Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings at Hisense Arena on November 11, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

AFL clubs keen to create NBL teams to be part of league’s expansion

Reports emerged earlier this week that several AFL clubs are keen to create their own NBL teams as the league looks to expand over the coming years.

The model would be similar to some European sporting clubs which have soccer clubs and basketball clubs.

NBL owner Larry Kestleman confirmed on Tuesday the league is looking to expand the league and using other sporting codes to aid expansion is on the agenda.

“The other very interesting model to me, and we’re in discussions and have been approached by a number, is actually for other sporting organisations to own the licence,” Kestelman told The West Australian.

“Preferably the ones that play in the (basketball) off-season.

 “AFL clubs and NRL clubs, so someone like the Melbourne Storm, make a lot of sense because they have all the infrastructure and everything they need.

 “They already have big membership bases, employees, high performance, gyms, pools – everything they need.

“It’s literally a matter of putting a team together. It’s a very interesting model, so that’s something we’re exploring.”

Currently the Melbourne Storm own a team in the Super Netball competition, as do the GWS Giants and Collingwood.

While the Magpies would be a perfect fit for a new NBL team in the coming years, the club’s main aim will be improving on last season’s disappointing 13th place finish.

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Collingwood were relatively quiet during the recent trade period, much to the ire of fans, bringing in only rookie listed Sydney player Sam Murray, leaving many pundits questioning where improvement will come from.

AFL commentator Dwayne Russell reported on Tuesday evening there are at least two Victorian based clubs and one WA club interested in acquiring an NBL licence.

“The NBL is reportedly speaking to half a dozen interested AFL clubs. Not all of them are in Melbourne, one of them is in Western Australia I’m told,” Russell told Sportsday.

“The Melbourne Storm may even be a contender to own an NBL team as well.

“They’re the one franchise (in Europe) and it works because it brings a massive membership base to a new team,” Russell said.

“Collingwood, for example, has 75,000 AFL members and if 10 to 15 per cent of them like basketball, you already have a crowd for the new team, a supporter base for the new team.”

The 2018 AFL season begins on Thursday March 22 with Richmond and Carlton once again playing in the season opener at the MCG.

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