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NBL Ready For Canberra

Canberra could make a highly anticipated return to the Hungry Jack’s National Basketball League (NBL) within two years according to League Owner and Executive Chairman, Larry Kestelman.

“We stand ready and willing to issue a licence for an 11th team, should the conditions be suitable and a stadium upgraded to be of ‘NBL standard,” Kestelman declared.

After a recent visit to Canberra and a tour of its sporting infrastructure, Kestelman believes the nation’s capital has great potential to re-join the League within two years.

“With the right government support, we can redevelop AIS Arena and bring it up to the modern standards expected by our teams and players, and of course our fans,” Kestelman said.

“Two years is an aggressive timeline, but no different to what we achieved in Tasmania with the incredibly successful redevelopment of MyState Bank Arena.

“The Tasmania JackJumpers have provided the blueprint for Canberra’s NBL return. AIS Arena is in a very similar condition to what MyState Bank Arena was when we began those redevelopments, and we are very confident we will replicate that success in Canberra.

Recently, Senator Zed Seselja and Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck announced the Commonwealth would provide $11.4 million to repair the stadium, while Federal Labor promised to commit $15 million, if the party was elected. It is estimated a further $40 to 50 million would be required to upgrade AIS Arena. Tasmania’s MyState Bank Arena cost approximately $66 million to upgrade and refurbish.

“This investment would mean AIS Arena could not only host NBL games, but also attract other sports and entertainment events that our nation’s capital deserves,” Kestelman stated.

“We have no doubt local fans want, and would support, a return to the League and we know Canberra has many potential corporate partners who are also willing to get behind a team.

“We stand ready to have these discussions with the government to deliver what more than 450,000 Canberra residents deserve; to have a team again in a state-of-the-art venue.

Canberra played in the NBL from 1979–2003 as the Cannons, winning three championships in 1983, 1984, 1988, and played at AIS Arena.

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