ESPN nips 2009-10 SBL TV deal

ESPN will be the main broadcaster for the 2009-10 SBL season after agreeing a deal that worth NT$28 million (US$870,000) which also includes broadcast distribution and marketing rights.

The announcement was made amid the fear of the league not being able to open on time as little progress has been made toward the new season. The public also showed concerns for fan support after a number of popular local players, including Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, left Taiwanese basketball and signed with Chinese teams.

The done deal means SBL teams have secured the largest share of revenue of their annual operation since these team traditionally don’t do anything to promote and market themselves.

The National Sports Council, Taiwan’s highest sports governing body, also said that it will provide the league with a NT$7 million subsidy as a support for the league that is weathering a difficult time like all sports.

Which means the league has secured NT$35 million in revenue with each team receiving a guaranteed NT$5 million for the new season, which will tip off on January 9 in Miaoli.

In terms of import hiring, team representatives were saying that there will be foreign players playing next season but nothing has been decided yet.

"It’s expected that everything will be the same as last year. Same height limit (200cm or 6-7), same salary cap with a maximum of US$10,000 per month, and one import for each team, " Dacin Tigers representative Wang Tsai-hsiang said.

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