WA’s two biggest basketball teams will be brought under the same umbrella next season, with the Perth Wildcats today announcing the acquisition of the West Coast Waves - the state’s premier women’s outfit.
As part of the agreement, the Waves will undergo a complete rebranding, competing in the 2015-16 WNBL season under their former name the Perth Lynx and adopting a red uniform to bring them in line with the six-time NBL champions, subject to league approval.
Wildcats owner Jack Bendat, who purchased the Waves’ licence from Basketball WA, said he was excited to see the sport continue to grow in the state and was anxious to help that growth as much as possible.
“This is a big moment for basketball in Western Australia,” he said.
“We see enormous potential in this brand and expect significant growth in membership, corporate support and crowds at Perth Lynx home games.
“The acquisition also allows us to double our positive impact on the local community, where Lynx players will serve as role models for West Australians, particularly young girls.”
The Lynx will be operated by Wildcats staff, with home games played at the WA Basketball Centre.
However there are plans to overhaul the match-day experience to create an atmosphere similar to the one created at the Perth Arena.
Basketball WA chairman Keith Dunlap said the move was a positive one for women’s basketball.
“Basketball WA is extremely proud of the work it has done over the past 14 years to maintain and operate a WNBL licence in Western Australia,” he said.
“It is through the tireless work of the dedicated BWA staff as well as volunteers, and the support of our member associations, that female players in WA have had the opportunity to reach the highest level of the sport.
“This agreement will further enhance the opportunities for elite female athletes in Western Australia, as well as our coaches and officials.”
WA Minister for Sport and Recreation Mia Davies also welcomed the agreement.
"I’m really excited that the nation's most successful basketball franchise, Perth Wildcats, will now manage Perth Lynx and work closely with Basketball WA to ensure the sustainability of the club," she said.