A guided tour of the AIS Arena is set to reignite debate about the venue's future, the prospect of private investment and Canberra Cannons dream, but a major hurdle looms for basketball's hopes of returning to "The Palace". The Canberra Times can reveal Australian Sports Commission boss Kieren Perkins met with NBL officials this week and showed them around the arena, prompting renewed speculation about a Cannons reboot in the coming years. The NBL confirmed commissioner Jeremy Loeliger and a representative from LK Property Group were in Canberra and took time to look inside the arena, which is being repaired in the hope it will reopen in about six months. The arena was closed indefinitely in early 2020, but the federal government committed $15 million to upgrading the lighting, fire system, seating and safety features to get it back online. But the floating floor, which cost $200,000 almost a decade ago, has been damaged after being put into storage when the arena closed its doors "indefinitely" during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of replacing the floor has not been included in the sports commission's refurbishment budget and it's unclear if the ACT government will be slugged with the extra cost given it wants to use the court for WNBL, Super Netball and international matches. Complicating matters is the fact the future of the entire AIS hinges on an independent report, which was commissioned by the federal government to weigh up a $1 billion relocation to south-east Queensland or upgrading the existing site at Bruce. The report is due to be handed to the government by the end of the year. The ACT government is sweating on the findings given it relies on two federal-owned assets - the arena and Canberra Stadium - to host sports, concerts, exhibitions and functions. The arena would also be central to the NBL's plans for Canberra, even though there are plans to build a multipurpose facility in Civic with a capacity of 10,000. NBL chief executive David Stevenson has flagged the competition's desire to invest in arenas, including in Canberra. "The [AIS Arena] is not at the level we need for NBL games," he said last month. "We're interested and optimistic that there is good desire to be able to invest into that stadium." An NBL spokesperson confirmed commissioner Jeremy Loeliger and a representative from LK Property Group visited the AIS last week, but said it was similar to recent trips to Darwin and the Gold Coast as they ponder expansion options. The sports commission is keen to keep the AIS in Canberra, and has signed a 12-month memorandum of understanding to work with the ACT government to revitalise the Bruce campus. But it's believed the commission is also open to private partnerships or investment to help improve the facilities. "The ASC has had discussions with a range of stakeholders to ensure the AIS Arena's deep-seated value for the Canberra community is maximised in the coming years," a commission spokesperson said. "We look forward to the AIS Arena reopening to the public in 2024 as a venue for sport, concerts and broader community use."