|The Hungry Jack’s NBL will stage its biggest event ever when all nine NBL teams hit Melbourne in February as part of a month-long basketball extravaganza.|
The NBL and the Victorian Government today announced that 36 games will be played in a Melbourne Hub starting on February 20.
The 36 games will count towards the 2020-21 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season and, in a first for the league, will also decide the winner of the inaugural NBL Cup with total prize money of $300,000 up for grabs.
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.”
|The Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaclyn Symes said: “Victorians love their basketball and there couldn’t be a better place for the NBL to tip off its season.|
“This will give fans the chance to see more top-level games and world class players than ever and we’ll ensure it’s done safely in accordance with the latest public health advice.”
The 2020-21 Hungry Jack’s NBL season will commence on January 10 with the first 39 games to be played over 37 days in front of fans across Australia before all nine teams move to the Melbourne Hub to contest the NBL Cup.
The NBL’s intention, subject to COVID and scheduling issues, is for teams to host their customary 14 home games during the regular season, over and above the games played in the NBL Melbourne Hub.
The only planned exception will be the SKY Sport New Zealand Breakers, who will start their season in Australia and hopefully return to NZ as soon as borders allow for home and away games.
All 36 games played in the NBL Melbourne Hub will count towards the teams’ overall season record in accordance with standard ladder methodology. In addition, teams will compete for the NBL Cup, with three points awarded for a win and an extra point awarded for each quarter won across the 36 games held.
Every team will play each other once and the team with the most points at the end of the 36 games will be awarded the NBL Cup and $150,000 in prize money. If teams finish equal on points, then the team with the most wins will be declared the winner. The runner-up will receive $100,000 and third place $50,000.
At the completion of the NBL Melbourne Hub, clubs will return to their respective home venues and complete the remainder of the NBL home and away season.
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said each team would be scheduled to play eight extra games during the regular season than they would normally.
“Playing these extra games in Victoria will provide us with valuable time for restrictions on crowd numbers to continue to be eased around the country, hopefully allowing more fans to see their teams play at home. It also enables us to accumulate more games in an accelerated format should any unexpected issues arise later in the season,” he said.
“The additional games will also generate much needed revenue for our clubs during this COVID affected year but are also a huge bonus for our fans and the game of basketball across Australia as we bounce back from an unexpectedly long off-season.
“Extra games are a great outcome for everyone, especially when so many sporting leagues in Australia and around the world have had to shorten or even cancel their seasons. We are very grateful to the Victorian Government for the opportunity. It’s certainly not taken for granted given where we were only a few short months ago.”
The NBL will release the schedule for the NBL Cup and details about how to buy tickets soon. All games will be broadcast live on SBS, ESPN and Sky Sport (NZ).