ESPN to televise 59 prime time NBL games

ESPN will televise 59 prime time NBL games under a two-year agreement that sees Australia's premier basketball competition align with the sport's broadcast home Down Under.

Already the home of the NBA, WNBA and College Basketball in Australia, ESPN has partnered with the NBL ahead of what looms as the competition's best season yet thanks to the arrival of boom American prospects R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball and the return of Sydney Kings star Andrew Bogut.

The two-year deal, which commences on October 3, will see ESPN broadcast the 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm [AEST] games exclusively live to the big screen as well as the semi-finals and finals series across channels ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

"This broadcast agreement with ESPN is a quantum leap forward in the coverage of the NBL and basketball across Australia," NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman said.

"It maintains our commitment to make the game available to more people to watch when and how they choose across different platforms and will continue to grow our audience across Australia. Partnering with ESPN, the home of the NBA in Australia, brings more global credibility to the NBL as we attract bigger stars to what is now considered one of the best leagues in the world outside of the NBA."

Having delivered Australian basketball fans countless hours of basketball of the highest quality from the United States, Haydn Arndt, ESPN's General Manager for Australia/NZ, said the NBL would fit perfectly among the network's existing basketball slate.

"ESPN is the indisputable home for basketball fans in Australia so it makes perfect sense to add the NBL alongside our exclusive television coverage of the NBA, WNBA and NCAA Basketball," Arndt said.

"We love what the NBL are doing to grow the league and attract high profile talent to our home courts - we saw it last year with Andrew Bogut's return, and earlier this year with the signings of both LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton. Basketball is booming in Australia and the NBL is primed for growth. We're very happy to be in business with them."

The NBL season kicks off with the inaugural "Throwdown" between Melbourne United and their new cross-town rivals South East Melbourne Phoenix on Thursday October 3.

ESPN's NBL broadcast will be supported by extensive video, analysis, preview, reaction and feature content on espn.com.au