Premier League (Australia)
The Premier League (formerly known as the BankSA League and the Central Australian Basketball League) is a semi-professional basketball league in South Australia, Australia, comprising both a men's and women's competition. Formerly a conference of the Australian Basketball Association (ABA), the league is used as a development league for the Adelaide teams competing in the NBL and WNBL.
|No. of teams||11|
|M: Forestville Eagles (8th title)|
W: Forestville Eagles (9th title)
|Most titles||M: West Adelaide Bearcats (15 titles)|
W: North Adelaide Rockets (21 titles)
|Official website||Premier League|
The South Australian Metropolitan Basketball Association was founded in 1936. All games were played at Duncan Buildings, Franklin Street, Adelaide with 16 teams competing. After World War II, basketball resumed at the Our Boys Institute in the city, and suburban drill halls, with 27 teams. In 1946, the first Australian Basketball Championship was held in Sydney. The Men's Championship was held 36 times with the last series held in 1984. South Australia won 14 titles and finished second another 13 times. The Men's Championship was discontinued in the 1980s because of the rise of the National Basketball League. The respective Women's Championship was first held in 1955 in Melbourne, and was held 29 times until it too was discontinued in 1984. South Australia won the title 14 times and finished second another 11 times.
In 1951, the District Association was formed and in 1953 the Forestville Stadium, with one court, was built. At the time, the Stadium was the first of its kind in Australia. By 1954, there were 57 teams competing in all grades in the District Association. In 1956, a second court was built at Forestville and in 1958, a third.
In 1957, the Basketball Association of South Australia (BASA) held its first official State League season, with North Adelaide (later known as the Rockets) taking out both the men's and women's championships.
As the Association grew, a landmark in Australian and South Australian basketball came about in 1969 when the Apollo Entertainment Centre was built. It had one court and the capacity to seat 3,000 people, and became the home for basketball in South Australia, providing offices for the administration of the BASA. It was a beginning for many more buildings to come until the major boom for basketball occurred in the 1980s with the formation of the National Basketball League in 1979.
In 1980, Barry Richardson was installed as General Manager of the Association and he consolidated the Association's assets and continued its growth.
In 1985, the 1982 NBL champions, the West Adelaide Bearcats, left the NBL for the BankSA State League citing financial reasons. This left the Adelaide 36ers as the only team representing South Australia in the NBL. The 36ers, coached by Ken Cole, surged to success in 1985, culminating in a Grand Final appearance against the Brisbane Bullets. This sparked a tremendous upsurge in the involvement and interest in basketball from both the public and media in South Australia.
In 1986, the Association expanded even further with the addition of the Woodlands Sporting Complex at Athol Park, housing four basketball courts and both indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The year was also memorable as the 36ers won the NBL championship for the first time. The 1986 36ers became the first NBL team to go through the regular season undefeated at home with a 14–0 record at the Apollo Stadium, and finished with a 24–2 overall record before going on to defeat the Brisbane Bullets 2–1 in the Grand Final series. With the 36ers' serge, the constant demand for tickets far outstripped the 3,500 seat Apollo Stadium, and a feasibility study was commissioned into the development of a multi-sports complex.
This led to the building of the 8,000 seat Clipsal Powerhouse (later renamed the Adelaide Arena) in the western suburb of Findon, which was opened on 19 December 1991. Built at a cost of A$16 million, the Powerhouse was built with a central court and two either side that could be hidden under retractable court side seats when the stadium was in use for the 36ers. This gave the Powerhouse the ability to revert to a three-court international-standard facility. Since its opening, the Adelaide Arena has been the home of Basketball South Australia.
In 1998, the then named BankSA League joined the Continental Basketball Association as the association's Central Conference, and the league later became known as the Central Australian Basketball League, a name that stuck until December 2014.
Basketball SA's leading basketball competition for South Australia's elite men's and women's teams entered into a new era in 2015. With the SA state league having lacked a sense of identity over the years, the choice was made to change the league's name from Central Australian Basketball League to Premier League. As a result of the completion of a competition review including feedback received from clubs, the league's name was changed to provide a clear identity with the goal for 2015 to provide more games and a greater variety.