Sky Broadband Rapid League: What You Need To Know

Photo credit: Monica Toretto

The Sal’s NBL will take on a different look in season 2024 and it all starts tonight just before game 1 between the Wheeler Motor Company Rams and the NBS Nelson Giants with the introduction of the Sky Broadband Rapid League. The world-first innovation was brought into the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi competition in 2023 and immediately delivered on what it was designed to do.

For Sal’s NBL fans the message is simple – you can now arrive earlier to a Sal’s NBL game and see a bonus shortened game that is played at a fast pace and includes the same Sal’s NBL players that will be playing that same day/night (except imports and starters who are not eligible to play). It’s a great way to cheer for all the players and see them in action.

Increased player development, more entertainment for fans, added content for broadcast, and a boost in commercial properties for the league and teams came with Rapid League in Tauihi, and the vision is for the same to now happen in the Sal’s NBL.

Last year, rising stars like recently capped Tall Fern Pahlyss Hokianga burst onto the Tauihi scene via Rapid League, just one of many young players who relished the chance to play on the big stage.

Now, it’s the Sal’s NBL turn with 110 Rapid League games on the 2024 schedule and a long list of eager young players who know they will get on-court experience via the quick-fire competition.

Rapid League comes with some unique rules, in particular the way it links to the Sal’s NBL. Here’s what you need to know.

Question: When are Sky Broadband Rapid League games played?

Answer: Rapid League games are played immediately before every Sal’s NBL game with tip off, scheduled exactly 1 hour prior to Sal's NBL tip off. There are no Rapid League finals, and no Rapid League games are played during the postseason in the Sal’s NBL Final 6.

Q: How long does a Rapid League game take?

A: Games consist of 4 x 4-minute quarters, with the clock stopping on all whistles. Teams have a one-minute break between quarters, while half-time lasts for two minutes.

Q: Who is allowed to play in Rapid League?

A: Only the players named in positions 6-12 for the Sal’s NBL game are permitted to play in the preceding Rapid League game. No players named in starting line-ups for the Sal’s NBL are permitted to play in the preceding Rapid League game. And no imports can play Rapid League, it is only for Kiwis.

Q: Are there timeouts in Rapid League?

A: Coaches are not permitted to call any timeouts, however player only timeouts do exist under the same rules which apply to player timeouts in the Sal’s NBL. This means timeouts occur on the floor with the players receiving no input from the coaching staffs. Each team is permitted one player only timeout per half. Unused timeouts do not carry over from half to half or from regulation to overtime. No player timeouts are permitted in overtime. 

Q: How does overtime work?

A: If the scores are level at the end of regulation, players must stay on the court and not return to the team bench unless they are subbed out. The ball is immediately returned to centre court (teams are permitted subs) and the overtime period commences with a jump ball. Overtime periods are only one minute long. Bonus shots apply on the third team foul in overtime.

Q: How does the Rapid League ladder work?

A: The Rapid League ladder works in the same way as the Sal’s NBL ladder. The team with the best winning percentage has the higher position on the ladder. If two or more teams have the same winning percentage, they will be separated by their points differential as a percentage – points scored for divided by points scored against (counting points from Rapid League games only).

Q: Is there a Rapid League trophy?

A: Yes! The team on top of the ladder at the end of the Rapid League season will be crowned champion.

Q: Do Rapid League results have any impact to the Sal’s NBL ladder?

A: Yes! For every Rapid League team, points scored for and points scored against are added to the team’s Sal’s NBL record – so as each Sal’s NBL team’s points scored for and points scored against will also include their Rapid League team’s results. This is even more important as that percentage will be the tie breaker for any teams tied in the Sal's NBL. That means every single bucket all season long will come into the final tally and scoring and defense will come into play until the final whistle is blown. 


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