READY TO SERVE: The New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) elected new officers to serve for the next four years this past Tuesday at the Ministry of Education.
By TENAJH SWEETING
Tribune Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) annual general meeting and elections, the newly-elected president Ricardo Smith is ready to usher in a new era of basketball.
Smith, along with the other elected officials, are ready to take on the challenge for the next four years and bring changes to the local night league.
The president and newly appointed officials plan to offer a cash prize to players, provide them with opportunities for travel and exposure, and boost crowd and media involvement going into next season.
Smith listed a $10,000 cash prize for the division one champions as the first item on his 10-point plan for the first year of his presidency.
“We have refocused our efforts on making sure that there is definitely an opportunity for players to see more benefits so that they will be able to see what they are playing for,” Smith said.
The champions of the 2023-2024 NPBA season will be awarded with the prize money along with championship rings for their efforts on the court.
Among the other goals for the association will be to allow the teams, particularly the division two clubs, to travel overseas to colleges. Additionally, the division one players will have exposure to professional players.
The NPBA elected officials also have plans to boost crowd involvement and attendance, starting with their search of new potential venues for the basketball games next season. Despite a slight dip in crowd attendance in the previous season, Smith recognises that new initiatives can be put in place to boost attendance at the gymnasium.
At the halfway mark of the regular season, the executives will have a committee in charge of planning the All-Star games which will include players being allowed to stay in a hotel during the break.
“We are gonna bring back All-Star games and we hope to treat our players like All-Stars for at least a weekend in a hotel to have the opportunity to be treated like real superstars and to include all the fanfare and festivities that the NBA does,” the president said.
In addition to bringing back the All-Star games, they plan to include halftime shows, special prizes and merchandise for supporters.
“We have to provide incentives for our fans that if they get early tickets they would be able to pay a cheaper price and also we must work on ensuring our teams are up to par and coming on the floor with a plan to execute the game at the highest level,” Smith added.
The new NPBA president also has plans for the media’s involvement in the upcoming season.
It is the association’s goal to sit with members of the media and sports representatives to discuss new ways to have them more involved with the progression and promotion of the NPBA league.
He said they are trying to work with the media houses going forward to get their message out through press releases, photography and post-game interviews which can be directly sent to them.
“We want to sit down with the media before next season opens to find out what we can do to make it easier for them.
“There are a number of things that we are going to be doing to get a new marketing/advertising strategy,” he said.
The president remains optimistic going into the 2023/2024 NPBA season and wants their supporters to give them a second chance in this new era of basketball.