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PLAYER PAYMENTS TO DOUBLE AS TAUIHI MOVES PLAYING SEASON AND EYES INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION

Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa is announcing a raft of changes, including doubling player wages, opening up the opportunity for international teams to join the league, and a move in its playing season.

When the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa league started in 2022, players were recognised through pay parity with the NZ men’s league. For the 2024 season, payments will significantly increase for players in the women’s league.

The league is also expanding to welcome teams from beyond New Zealand, with conversations underway with a number of international teams.

General Manager of Leagues Maree Taylor says, “This is a landmark event for basketball and for Aotearoa's women’s sporting landscape in general. This level of investment will drastically change the Women’s professional game in New Zealand with immediacy and the flow on effects will be felt for years to come. We are truly proud to be able to help bring the next version of Tauihi Women’s basketball Aotearoa to the country and around the globe.”

These changes are possible thanks to the commercial support for Tauihi has garnered since the launch of the league. This includes Sky’s investment as a Commercial Partner and broadcaster, G.J. Gardner Homes’ support as the league’s current Naming Rights Partner – which has just been extended to 2026; and the involvement of key sponsor, Sal’s Pizza as Major partner.

Sky Sport’s Head of Commercialisation and Fandom, Justin Nelson, former leading basketball administrator in Australia and New Zealand, says elite athletes in women’s basketball have the best chance to thrive if given the support and finances to help them apply more time to their profession.

“Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa has been literally soaring – true to its name – since it started in 2022. I’d like to think the league is forging new ground that will help drive more conversations about innovation and investment in women’s sports,” said Nelson.

“The proposed addition of international teams and increase in player payments will also elevate the reputation of Taiuihi and ensure that it is firmly on the map when it comes to talent considering where to develop their careers.”

Ellie Porteous, Managing Director at G.J. Gardner Homes explains why it made sense to extend the existing relationship with Tauihi. “Since its launch two years ago, Tauihi has gone from strength to strength – and we are aligned with the direction to provide opportunities for girls and women in sport. We have enjoyed our association with basketball and playing our part in growing its presence both locally at community level, and nationally across Aotearoa.”

The Tauihi league will move its playing season to October, November and December, finishing before Christmas, a time in the New Zealand sporting calendar that will give women’s basketball the best possible exposure to fans and the wider media.

Sky will continue to broadcast every game live in New Zealand, and matches will also be shared around the world by a variety of partners.

Sky Chief Executive Sophie Moloney welcomed the changes as groundbreaking for women’s basketball.

“The changes that have been announced today are possible because Tauihi has focused hard on innovation and fan engagement, and in a short time has grown a committed and active fan base, both court side and via Sky’s broadcasts.

“We are thrilled here at Sky to support the growth of the women’s basketball game in Aotearoa, in a way that aligns with our mission to help more girls and women to ‘see your possible’ across a range of women’s sport.”

Last season, the Tauihi league attracted nine players with links to America’s WNBA, along with the Australian team captain Tess Madgen, and a raft of Tall Ferns.

Describing what the changes will mean for players, former Tall Fern and New Zealand’s only WNBA player to date, Megan Compain, said these changes to Tauihi signify a transformation shift for girls’ and women's basketball in New Zealand.

“A shift in season will make Tauihi even more attractive to WNBA players, and the prospect of international teams joining the league promises to make it one of the best in the world.

“The players receiving a significant pay boost will financially put the teams ahead of many international leagues and really puts Tauihi on the map in a game that is played right around the world.”

The league will release further details on the international teams in the near future.

Free agency, the period when players can choose to approach the league to sign a deal to play, will commence for the 2024 Tauihi season in the coming weeks.



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