Auckland Huskies NBL team to become Auckland Tuatara as baseball club expands empire

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Tom Vodanovich and the Auckland Huskies won an important away victory over the Nelson Giants.

Chris Symes / Photosport

Tom Vodanovich and the Auckland Huskies won an important away victory over the Nelson Giants.

Auckland could have a team that thrives and survives in the New Zealand National Basketball League once the Huskies are renamed Tuatara and a new broadcast deal with Sky TV is in place.

The key figures of the Auckland Tuatara baseball team are set to take over the town’s NBL club and will rename the Huskies to Tuatara and have them play in the colors of the baseball team.

A consortium made up of around half of the shareholders of the Tuatara baseball team, including CEO Regan Wood, is set to confirm the purchase of the Huskies, while some basketball-specific shareholders are also involved.

Stuff understands that Aaron Young will be retained as coach of the basketball team for the new season, which begins April 7 and that they would play all of their home games at the North Shore Events Center, not moving to other sites only if the NSEC is not available.

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A number of people have tried to run a profitable basketball team in Auckland, but since the Breakers emerged in 2003 all have struggled.

The Auckland Tuatara have increased their home crowds from a few 100 per game to over 4,000 in their only season at North Harbor Stadium.

Stuff-co-nz

The Auckland Tuatara have increased their home crowds from a few 100 per game to over 4,000 in their only season at North Harbor Stadium.

Those who decided to take over the Huskies don’t think they are smarter than the owners of the Auckland Metro, Cannons, Stars, Rebels, Pirates and Super City Rangers, but that there is a better financial model to come.

Stuff understands that a new broadcast deal with the NBL will soon be announced with Sky TV, which will give each club a significant contribution.

Some Tuatara front office staff will work with both teams, which will help keep costs down.

The Tuatara may seek sponsors from both teams, while they may tap into both groups of supporters for marketing opportunities and Sky Tower may remain as nominative sponsors of the basketball team.

The basketball team will play in the Tuatara colors which are blue and teal and it is hoped that the brains confidence that transformed the baseball team during their season at North Harbor Stadium in 2018-19 can have the same success in basketball.

It is believed that although Wood is part of the consortium, he will continue his day-to-day activities as CEO of the baseball team.

It has been a difficult task for the Tuatara baseball team as Covid-19 forced them to withdraw from the Australian Baseball League last season and this year the entire ABL season has been called off.

However, by the end of next year, it is hoped that border restrictions will be removed for anyone vaccinated and the team will play again.


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