Perth Wildcats owners Sports Entertainment Group want to buy more sporting teams throughout the world and have revealed a strategy to form an on-court partnership between their NBL franchise and New Zealand’s Otago Nuggets.
SEG purchased the Wildcats from Jack Bendat midway through the year and have overseen major changes following five-time championship coach Trevor Gleeson’s move to the NBA.
The company’s move into owning clubs took another step in November when they added the Nuggets to their portfolio, and SEG’s Richard Simkiss explained that CEO Craig Hutchison was constantly assessing expansion.
“There’s multiple other things that are bubbling along. We’re always on the lookout – not just in basketball but potentially across other sports as well,” Simkiss told The West Australian’s The Dribble Podcast.
“I’d never say we’re done. One of the things I’ve learnt working with Hutchy over a period of time is just when you start to feel comfortable and things might be relatively normal, we will flip and change again.
“It’s absolutely part of a longer-term acquisition and growth strategy of the business – rights representation or team ownership and integrating that into our media business.”
SEG have retained a minority share in NBL champions Melbourne United, but Hutchison stepped down as chairman upon buying the Wildcats. They also have an interest in Bowls Australia.
Simkiss said having the outright ownership of both the Wildcats and Nuggets opened the door for development and recruiting opportunities.
He said Wildcats General Manager of Basketball Operations Danny Mills would work with the Nuggets to find opportunities for Development Players to hone their craft in New Zealand during the off-season. Otago and the Wildcats could also share coaching knowledge.
“That’s absolutely part of the strategy,” Simkiss said.
“Danny was very excited when we first mentioned the opportunity to him. He got involved in the early parts of the conversation over there.
“Certainly over time when hopefully travel is a little more normalised and the competitions aren’t overlapping each other, the opportunity to potentially utilise players across both competitions or get a look at a potential Development Player for the Wildcats over in what is a really strong competition over there.
“We think it provides great opportunity both for playing roster but also opportunity for coaching staff and administration across both of the clubs. That’s definitely something we’ll be exploring over time.”
The Wildcats will fly from South Australia to Cairns on Thursday and play the Taipans on New Year’s Eve following the cancellation of games against Adelaide and Brisbane. Simkiss said more changes were likely.
“It’s inevitable there is going to be more and more disruption,” he said.
“The team that can deal with that the best on the road over the next few months is going to be the ones to beat.”