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Unpaid sponsor supports Bibby

Date

Jon Tuxworth

An art director who assists the Canberra Capitals with their marketing free of charge says the goal of helping grow women's basketball is being compromised by Basketball Australia ''roadblocks''.

Anthony Nankervis, who owns a local creative studio, estimates he has contributed about $300,000 over the past five years in unpaid sponsorship services.

Nankervis has witnessed the frustration the Capitals have experienced at the restrictions placed on them when trying to promote their brand.

In The Canberra Times on Friday, Capitals skipper Jess Bibby accused Basketball Australia of prioritising the NBL over the WNBL.

''It just goes to show the care factor really isn't there. They're not interested in getting this league to the best it possibly can be,'' she said.

Nankervis supported Bibby's stance on his Twitter account, posting: ''Why should I continue my corporate support of WNBL when clearly yours is tokenism?'' to Basketball Australia's account.

''The main one [roadblock] is the clubs are dictated to by the league. Generally the league doesn't take on board ideas and feedback from the clubs. It's a one size fits all approach,'' Nankervis said.

''The ultimate outcome is to get 3500 to the AIS Arena every game, so anything we can do to help that happen, we want to do. [But] we keep hearing 'you can't do that', or 'you can't do this'.

''I know the reason is money, but there seems to be no initiative from the league. They didn't use the Olympics [where the Australian Opals won a bronze medal] as a good platform.

''The campaign we pitched to the Capitals in March was about trying to grab those people who became basketball experts for two weeks at the Olympics. Most of the Opals squad is playing in the comp this year. The clubs are trying to grow this thing, but it just doesn't feel like the league wants to get involved with that.''

Nankervis has relished working closely with Capitals coach Carrie Graf, who has made no secret of her desire for the WNBL to be a fully-professional league.

''I love working with Graffy and her vision, and we want to see that progress and grow every year,'' he said. ''I can just see how frustrated she gets and how they don't seem to be getting the assistance from the governing body. They should be driving it, really.''

On court, the Capitals snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 72-60 victory over bottom side West Coast in Perth on Saturday night. The win ensured Canberra avoided equalling the club's longest losing streak of 10, set in 1996 and 1997.

It is unclear whether Bibby will be sanctioned by Basketball Australia. She declined to talk on Sunday.

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