Lousy promotion, lack of stars keep SBL fan base shrinking
The China Post news staffThe All-Star game of the 2012-2013 local semiprofessional Super Basketball League (SBL) ended in an unprecedented 114-all tie at the central city of Taichung last Sunday.
January 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Bank of Taiwan center Joseph Taylor's buzzer-beating putback basket was originally waived off by officials. But the ruling was later overturned by the referees upon inspecting a video replay, resulting in the first such draw in the league's 10-year history.
The result was probably a good ending for both teams and for the fans. After all, it is the All-Star game and which team wins or loses is not as important as the players and fans having a good time.
However, a remark by All-Star point guard Chien Ming-fu (簡明富) following the game has exposed one of the major challenges the league is facing: a lack of fan support.
“The All-Star game is a very interesting one; too bad not many fans have come to the stadium to watch us play,” Chien said in a postgame interview.
Not many fans indeed. Only around 2,000 people bought tickets to see the All-Star game in Taichung, a matchup supposed to be league's yearly highlight.
The scarce crowd on Sunday revealed the ugly and undeniable truth that the SBL, even during its 10th anniversary, is seeing its fan base shrink year after year.
The dwindling support recently forced the league to come up with proposals in the hope of boosting ticket revenue.
One solution thought up by Taiwan's basketball association, and which is currently being discussed with counterparts across the Strait, is for the champion team and runner-up finisher of the SBL to join the playoffs of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), China's pro basketball league.
Details of a CBA playoff system including Taiwan teams is currently being worked out, according to local media reports.
Taiwan's basketball association hopes the move could boost the domestic competition's visibility in Greater China and ultimately help them to win back fans locally.
The China Post thinks this is an encouraging sign. The proposal could well boost Taiwan basketball's competitiveness on the global stage, even though many obstacles need to be overcome to make it a reality.
However, it is highly doubtful whether the proposal would be of any significant help in getting Taiwanese fans to buy tickets to SBL games.