WNBL face challenges ahead of 40th season

New WNBL boss Lauren Jackson is determined to ensure the league keeps up amid fierce competition
New WNBL boss Lauren Jackson is determined to ensure the league keeps up amid fierce competition

New Women's National Basketball League boss Lauren Jackson admits they face challenges to regain standing in an increasingly crowded market.

The WNBL is the longest-running elite women's sporting league in Australia and launched its 40th season on Wednesday.

The league proved a trailblazer for women's sport in Australia and set the blueprint for national competitions in cricket, soccer, rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules football.

That influx saw the WNBL lose players and its spotlight on the national sporting stage, but following the recent resurgence of the men's NBL competition, Jackson is confident they can also rise.

"Forty seasons, it's crazy that it's been that long and I think now with the rise of women's sport in Australia we've definitely got to try and find our place again," Jackson told AAP.

"We need to try and get back to being (seen as) that amazing league we always have been but we're definitely on the way and I think we've got the athletes to do it.

"We've got a lot of Opals girls playing in the national league which is fantastic and finally we're starting to get a lot of WNBA players coming out and playing."

Hall of Fame player Jackson took on her new role as Basketball Australia's head of women's basketball in mid-year.

She admitted the WNBL becoming Australia's premier women's sporting competition again largely depended on investment in the game.

"Money. It's resources," Jackson said.

"It's trying to market our girls and our league in a way that's conducive to getting people on board and just finding support from the community.

"It has become a lot more competitive but we're on the right track. Today we're doing a women-in-basketball workshop here in Canberra.

"We're bringing a lot of like-minded people together who know a lot about sport and marketing ... which is going to help drive our strategy moving forward."

The WNBL returned to television last season with Fox Sports broadcasting one game per round.

Jackson said she's in negotiations with Kayo Sports to stream every game this season.

"It's great to be back on TV. Visibility is a massive thing in women's sport. We've got to be out there. We've got to be seen for people to really want to jump on board with us," Jackson said.

"It's now only one game a week so if we can get every game live-streamed on Kayo that's our goal. That's going to be a huge bonus for us and something we haven't done before."

Australian Associated Press