Basketball: Cash-strapped Basketball NZ 'relieved' by Govt grant

Basketball New Zealand has breathed a huge sigh of relief, after it was included in the Government's latest round of funding to sport in New Zealand on Tuesday.

As part of phase one of the Government's recovery plan, they announced a grant of $80 million, of which  $25m will go to sporting bodies to help revive their cash-strapped, COVID-19-affected leagues.

After being overlooked in the initial round of funding, basketball is one of the primary beneficiaries, receiving $500,00 to allocate to its men and women's domestic leagues. 

Basketball NZ chief executive Iain Potter says the amount will essentially fund the deficits of both leagues in a long overdue sign of support for one of the country's most popular sports.

"We're very relieved and delighted to have that funding made available to us," Potter tells Newshub. 

"We asked for an amount that would fund the deficits of both leagues and we think the amount we got is sufficient to largely do that."

The men's league - dubbed the NBL Showdown - has completely altered its traditional home-and-away format to stage a six-week tournament in Auckland, with all of the teams hosted at the Sky City hotel.

That's come at plenty of expense to the national body, and Potter says the grant helps ease a lot of that financial pressure.

"It's been quite a financial stress and pressure. We were encouraged to look forward to this time for some support, so it was just a relief to have it confirmed that some was going to be available."

Sports and recreation and finance minister Grant Robertson says the success of the revamped league had made the organisation a deserving candidate for funding.

"It's simply a recognition that basketball has a great national league going and this is an opportunity for us to support that," Robertson says.

"Basketball is one that people were hopeful there would be funding and there is."

Potter stresses the importance of the domestic league's survival through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's a shop front for the sport. It's a pathway for many young men and women that want to pursue basketball as a sport, so it's really crucial that we have it on.

"We didn't just want to pack up because it was COVID-19 year and offer nothing."