Melbourne to host NBL hub
The NBL will base all nine teams in Melbourne in February as part of a hub for the 2021 season, the league confirmed on Monday.
36 games will be played over the course of a month from February 20th, with the teams competing for the inagural NBL Cup each quarter of the 36 regular season games will contribute points towards the trophy and $300,000 in prizemoney.
The matches also contribute to the regular NBL season, with the clubs to return to their respective states at the conclusion of the Cup.
NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman said: “I want to thank the Victorian Government for partnering with us to bring the Hungry Jack’s NBL to Melbourne for what will be the biggest ever event we have staged in one city.
“These games will form part of an expanded NBL Season and give fans a chance to watch all of the league’s stars in what will be a showcase of world class basketball featuring all nine NBL teams.
“After such a tough year with so many families isolated, it will be great for fans to be entertained live and on TV by our amazing athletes and bring some normality back to our lives.
“As permitted attendances hopefully increase up to 75 per cent in Victoria by early next year, this will be a great opportunity for tens of thousands of fans to enjoy a unique basketball event for Melbourne and Australia.
“We plan to play a lot of double headers and ensure tickets will be great value for families. We will start on the weekend of the Australian Open Finals at Melbourne Park and the NBL will provide fantastic sporting entertainment all the way through to the Australian Grand Prix and beginning of the AFL Season.”
Almost all the games are expected to be played at John Cain Arena as double-headers. There is potential for a few games to be played at a second venue, potentially the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South.
The season is set to start on January 10th with an all Melbourne affair in the first throwdown of the year between Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix.