National Basketball League (New Zealand)

The National Basketball League (NBL) is a men's semi-professional basketball league in New Zealand.

National Basketball League (NBL)
Current season, competition or edition:
2021 New Zealand NBL season
Inaugural season1982
CEOIain Potter
DirectorJustin Nelson (general manager)
No. of teams10
CountriesNew Zealand
ContinentFIBA Oceania (Oceania)
Most recent
Wellington Saints (12th title)
Most titlesWellington Saints (12 titles)
TV partner(s)Sky Sport
Level on pyramid1
Official websiteNZNBL.Basketball

In 1981, a group of club and provincial teams came together to create a men's national basketball league. The following year, the league was brought under the management of the New Zealand Basketball Federation. The league quickly grew in size and popularity due to the influx of sponsors and American import players. The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers. The sport's popularity increased in the 2000s with the success of the Tall Blacks and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL.

In the early days, Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington were the benchmark teams of the league. During the 1990s, Auckland and Nelson were the teams to beat, before Waikato joined Auckland as the dominant sides during the 2000s. During the 2010s, Wellington and Southland became the league's premier teams.



The 1980s ushered in a period of exceptional growth and popularity for basketball in New Zealand. Late in 1981, six men's teams – a mixture of club and provincial representative sides – went out alone and created an inaugural national league. It was enough of a success to come under the control of the New Zealand Basketball Federation the following year, when it grew in size and secured a naming sponsor. An allowance of two imported players (invariably Americans with college basketball experience) per team, and the fact that games were played in the evening indoors, helped turn the league into a new family entertainment option. Spectators filled gymnasiums and media coverage reached unprecedented levels.[1] The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for New Zealand basketball and many teams in the NBL, with reduced TV coverage, sponsorships, and crowd numbers.[2] With the success of the Tall Blacks at the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the introduction of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL in 2003, basketball in New Zealand rose in popularity again.[1]

The number of teams each season has constantly changed since the league's inception, with many promotions and relegations between the first division and second division during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as many withdrawals due to financial reasons. The league began with 8 teams in 1982, then peaked at 13 teams in 1995, before dropping to a low of 7 in 2016. In 2019, the Southern Huskies from Tasmania became the first ever Australian team to join a New Zealand competition. The league returned to 7 teams in 2020 following a revised small-scale format due to the coronavirus pandemic.[3]

Current teams

Team City Region Arena Capacity Colours Debut Head Coach
Auckland Huskies Auckland Auckland Region Eventfinda Stadium 4,179       2019 New Zealand Aaron Young
Canterbury Rams Christchurch Canterbury Cowles Stadium 2,300[4]     1982 Australia Mick Downer
Franklin Bulls Pukekohe Auckland Region Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre 1,100     2020 New Zealand Jamie Reddish
Hawke's Bay Hawks Napier Hawke's Bay Pettigrew Green Arena 2,500       1983 Australia Jacob Chance
Manawatu Jets Palmerston North Manawatū-Whanganui Central Energy Trust Arena 2,000       1982 New Zealand Tim McTamney
Nelson Giants Nelson Nelson Trafalgar Centre 2,460     1982 New Zealand Mike Fitchett
Otago Nuggets Dunedin Otago Edgar Centre 2,880       1990 New Zealand Brent Matehaere
Southland Sharks Invercargill Southland Stadium Southland 4,019       2010 Australia Rob Beveridge
Taranaki Mountainairs New Plymouth Taranaki TSB Stadium 4,560     1985 New Zealand Trent Adam
Wellington Saints Wellington Wellington Region TSB Bank Arena 4,002     1983 New Zealand Zico Coronel
Location of teams within New Zealand

Former and defunct teams

League eligibility rules

There are two categories of players in the NZNBL:

  • Non-Restricted Player – players eligible to play for New Zealand in FIBA competitions
  • Restricted Player – a player who is not eligible to play for New Zealand[8]

Basketball New Zealand believes that the NZNBL is very much a part of the player pathway for New Zealand players, where Tall Blacks and potential Tall Blacks can play and develop as players. For that reason, it is intended that NZNBL teams have a majority of players that are able to represent New Zealand.[9]

Broadcasting details

In March 2016, Basketball New Zealand, the NZNBL, and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) announced that two weekly NBL games will be livestreamed free of charge on throughout the 2016 season.[10] In December 2016, NZME joined forces with Basketball New Zealand and Maori Television in a new media partnership for the 2017 season. NZME announced they would continue to build on the success of the 2016 live streaming in 2017 with at least two games a week to be livestreamed on, as well as all games during the Final Four weekend. In addition, Maori Television televised free to air live coverage of a NBL game every Sunday at 3 pm, and provided live coverage of the Final Four weekend. Maori Television also showed delayed coverage of a second game every week on a Saturday afternoon during the season.[11]

In November 2019, the league announced that in 2020 all 75 games would be broadcast by Sky Sport, marking the first time in the league's four-decade history that every game would be made available to viewers across the nation.[12]

In June 2020, the league secured a deal to broadcast live in the United States through ESPN.[13]


List of Champions

Team Titles Runners-up Total Year(s) won Year(s) lost
Wellington Saints 12 8 20 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 1983, 1986, 1991, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2018
Auckland Stars 9 4 13 1982, 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005 1984, 1985, 1989, 2006
Canterbury Rams 4 4 8 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992 1987, 1993, 1994, 1999
Waikato Pistons 4 2 6 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009 2003, 2010
Nelson Giants 3 8 11 1994, 1998, 2007 1990, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2013
Southland Sharks 3 1 4 2013, 2015, 2018 2017
Hutt Valley Lakers 2 0 2 1991, 1993
Hawke's Bay Hawks 1 7 8 2006 1995, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2019, 2021
Auckland Pirates 1 0 1 2012
Otago Nuggets 1 0 1 2020
Harbour Heat 0 2 2 1988, 1998
Manawatu Jets 0 2 2 1992, 2020
Waitemata Dolphins 0 1 1 1982
Super City Rangers 0 1 1 2016



See also


External links


Information as of: 09.08.2021 07:27:27 CEST

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