Anthony Petrie of the Adelaide 36ers is concerned about television coverage of the WNBL. Photo: Getty Images
Adelaide 36ers forward Anthony Petrie believes the exploits of Patrick Mills and other Australians in the NBA was a major factor behind the NBL’s landmark new television deal.
But he need look no further than his own lounge room to know the damage a potential WNBL blackout could have.
Canberra product Petrie has re-signed with Adelaide for three years and said the deal where every NBL game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports, as well as a Sunday afternoon game on Channel Nine, was “huge”.
In contrast, the WNBL is still searching for a suitor after the ABC ended its 35-year partnership at the end of last season.
The WNBL is confident it will reach a deal that features free-to-air and online coverage.
Petrie is married to former Canberra Capitals championship player Sarah (nee Berry) and his daughters Jess, 10, and Anna, 8, also watched the ABC’s WNBL coverage.
“That [watching WNBL] was Saturday afternoon for us,” Petrie said. “We’d sit down as family and watch it, and my girls would wonder what it’s like to play in the WNBL.
“When I was a kid I wanted to be Andrew Gaze or Dwayne McClain or Leroy Loggins, and they’re the same.
“The players definitely deserve it because we’re a top-two nation in the world in women’s basketball.
“My wife reminds me all the time I’m still chasing an NBL championship. She says ‘I’ve only got two of those’.”
Petrie said Fox Sports’ five-year deal to show the NBL live five days a week, plus the revival of the Brisbane Bullets, was just the shot in the arm the sport needed.
He gave plenty of credit to Canberra product Mills for putting the sport back in the spotlight after helping San Antonio Spurs to the 2014 NBA title.
“Credit to the people at the NBL who have the passion and vision of where they want to take the game, and where it belongs,” he said.
“Everyone who comes to a game absolutely loves it. It’s those fringe fans waiting to get into it who I think we’ve missed.
“You might catch that person who’s flicking around wanting to watch a sport in summer, and I know all the players are really excited about it.
“As corny as it sounds, kids have got something to aspire to where they can see these guys and know it’s believable and achievable.”
The Adelaide 36ers tip off the NBL season against New Zealand Breakers on Wednesday night.