Sky Sport is bouncing into Kiwi hoops in a big way this year with the Sal’s NBL tipping off on April 6. Fans will enjoy the insights and calls from an expanded commentary team of 11, bringing basketball fans every minute of action from all 95 games.
Renowned basketball caller Andrew Mulligan will swap his recently completed Sky Sport Breakers duties and get straight back amongst the hoops action to lead Sky’s team through the 16-week season, where the Otago Nuggets will look to defend its 2022 championship.
Sky’s coverage will again extend to every corner of the globe including the United States, through a freshly signed extension with ESPN. This will see the Sal’s NBL beamed to American fans for a fourth consecutive year.
All games will also be broadcast worldwide via the FIBA You Tube channel, making the Sal’s NBL the most available New Zealand sports competition to global viewers. In particular, audiences are increasing rapidly through South-East Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia and India.
Sky’s commentary team will include some regular faces and excitingly no fewer than five new additions. All up, the team includes six current or former players, with three former Tall Blacks and two current Tall Ferns.
Taylah Johnson and Nick Bewley debut with the team as lead callers, joining Mulligan, Justin Nelson and Huw Beynon in play-by-play roles; the latter trio sharing decades of basketball commentary experience.
For Johnson, who is already an accomplished rugby commentator, a move into basketball is also a step into one of her favourite sports.
The panel of expert commentators will be led by Casey Frank, who will be joined by fellow former Tall Blacks Brook Ruscoe and Phill Jones, while current Tall Ferns stars Stella Beck and Tessa Boagni debut along with former national-league player Casyn Buchman.
Sky is also pleased to announce Breakers’ captain Tom Abercrombie will make some cameo appearances and former Tall Fern and WNBA player Megan Compain is slated to join during the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi and Sky Broadband Rapid leagues when they tip-off in mid-July.
Across all national men’s and women’s competitions, plus the 3X3 National Cup later in the year, Sky’s coverage of New Zealand basketball this year will extend beyond 350 hours.
And though everyone on the commentary team calls New Zealand home there is a real global feel with Frank (American-New Zealand), Nelson (Australian), Beynon (Welsh-New Zealand) and Buchman (American) adding a range of international experience and accents.
Every Sunday night game will also be available live on Prime TV from 6pm, while a new weekly studio show – Sal’s Hoop Heads – will go to air every Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Thursday April 6 – Sunday July 23
GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi
Wednesday July 12 – Sunday September 10
Sky Broadband Rapid League*
Wednesday July 12 – Monday September 4
*The Rapid League is a new quickfire 16-minute curtain-raiser game featuring the players not announced in the starting five of each Tauihi game. The world-first innovation was announced late last year - read about the Sky Broadband Rapid League HERE.