History repeats itself. From what we've seen so far, Taiwanese semi-pro (or pro basketball...whatever you want to call it...) basketball is facing the "fourth year crisis" again.
By saying this, I mean to tell you that the SBL is facing a potential downfall if it does not learn from the lessons of the defunct CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance) -- the pro league that folded in 1999 after a brief 5-year existence.
It's always refreshing and exciting for basketball fans to see a new league, especially one that showcases enormous local talents and presents tough competition.
That was the case in 1994, when the CBA was established. And it was why it has had relative success, in terms of attendence, fan support and media attention, and afterward ignited a bidding war on broadcasting rights among local TV stations.
While all the ballclubs did was split the tens of thousands of dollars of the TV contract and nothing else, the league failed to improve on its marketing, facility, game operation and customer services. In addition, player salaries skyrocketed due to constant fighting between teams to get players.
In the end, the averaged attendence gradually went down. And teams were not profitable at all, so they asked for even higher broadcasting rights fee from TV partners.
Doesn't it look like what is happening right now with the SBL? The league gained some success after the first two to three years and the "greed factor" came out. The SBL committee did not lay out the plan for the next three years, did not improve the venue, did not discuss league regulations and system. All they wanted was more money from sponsors.
So what will happen? Will the SBL repeat the same mistake the CBA had seven years ago? Let's wait and see. From what I've seen, it's not optimistic.