NBL Opens Opportunity For New Franchises

New Zealand’s National Basketball League Limited (NBLL) is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to join the Sal’s National Basketball League (Sal’s NBL men) in season 2023 or 2024. Ideally, the League is targeting entries north of Taupo, New Zealand, while other areas are also welcome to apply.

The League currently has 10 teams competing in the Sal’s NBL (men).

"The Sal's NBL continues to attract growing interest at a time when our attendances, viewership and commercial growth is rapidly reaching new heights and as such we are pleased to open our second EOI (expression of interest) process in the space of just three years," explains League General Manager, Justin Nelson.

"This process is open to all interest parties, but we do have a focus on regions north of Taupo, including both Waikato and Bay of Plenty, which we have identified as key future markets for an NBL franchise."

A similar EOI process in 2019 led to both the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls and Go Media Otago Nuggets joining the League.



National Basketball League Limited (NBLL) is pleased to provide this briefing document to interested parties wishing to submit an EOI to participate in the New Zealand National Basketball League - Sal’s NBL from season 2023 or 2024.

The Sal’s NBL is the pre-eminent semi-professional men’s basketball league in New Zealand.

The league commenced in 1982 and has (10) teams currently competing - consisting of (6) teams from New Zealand’s north island and (4) teams from the south island.

The Sal’s NBL is built on adopting a fans-first approach to showcasing elite-level, athletic and entertaining basketball. Each business model (League and Teams) is strongly encouraged to focus on revenue, fan engagement and brand.

The League currently enjoys live broadcasts of all games via Sky Sport, along with a rapidly growing media presence and rising commerciality.

The League has a full-time General Manager based at Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) in Wellington, who is supported by a full-time Operations Manager and a number of experienced service providers, including but not limited to - a Commercial Manager, Communications Manager, Communications Coordinator and a Referee Manager.

The League’s strategy includes all teams having, as a minimum, a full-time General Manager year-round.

The League has identified north of Taupo, New Zealand as key growth area, though prospective franchises from additional areas of New Zealand are also encouraged to apply. Ideally, we are encouraging prospective franchises from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions to apply. 


Expression of Interest (EOI)
The first step for applicants is to send an EOI to the Sal’s NBL General Manager.

Deadline for EOI
Expressions of Interest should be received by close of business (COB) Friday October 22, 2021. Invitations will then be sent by COB Friday 5 November, 2021 to those being asked to submit a formal bid.

Formal Bids
Formal bids will be due to the NBLL by COB Friday 3 December, 2021. Details of what should be included in the formal bid will be sent to those being asked to submit.

The NBLL will make an announcement on any new franchises by COB Friday 17 December, 2021.

Who can submit an EOI?
Any parties interested in submitting a formal bid to acquire a Sal’s NBL franchise are welcome to apply by providing an EOI to begin with, including private owners.


What to address in your EOI?
Interested parties must submit an EOI letter to the League General Manager by COB Friday 22 October, 2021. The EOI should include the following:

    1. Proposed Board members and summary of credentials
    2. Proposed entity structure
    3. Proposed venue
    4. Proposed team name / colours / logo
    5. A brief outline of;
    1. a. projected support base;
    1. b. plans for community engagement;
    1. c. financial support base.


The NBLL has approved the establishment of a Sal’s NBL franchise bid review team. The team will comprise:

- NBL General Manager
- (2) Independent NBLL Board members
- (1) Independent sports professional

All EOI’s submitted will be reviewed by this group to determine whether the Sal’s NBL will extend an invitation to submit a formal bid. The League General Manager will communicate with all parties who have submitted an EOI to either invite them to submit a formal bid or inform them their EOI was not deemed suitable for further consideration.

Those parties invited to submit a formal bid will receive a ‘NBL Bid Document’ outlining the requirements for a formal bid. Formal bids for a franchise will be due by COB Friday December 3, 2021.


Key Dates
October 22 – EOI due.
November 5 – decision made on applications to proceed to formal bid.
December 3 – formal bid due.
December 17 – new franchise or franchises announced.


Justin Nelson – Sal's NBL General Manager
Phone – +64 (0)27  202 0070
Email –



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