2020 had been planned as a bumper year for Ballarat Sports Events Centre and Basketball Ballarat.
In April alone the city was set to host two State Country Championships, the U/18 National Junior Basketball Championship, and the Kevin Coombes Cup (National Wheelchair Championship).
These four multi day events were due to deliver 20,152 bed nights to our accommodation industry along with flow on benefits to the hospitality, tourism, and retail sectors.
On top of this B.SEC was planning to host the Vixens in a sold-out exhibition netball match against Collingwood Magpies. This 3,000 strong crowd would have been drawn from both metropolitan and regional Victoria.
This weekend Ballarat was set to host its 49th annual McDonald’s Ballarat Junior Basketball Tournament across the city. Some 15,900 bed nights were booked up for this event as they are every year.
Basketball Ballarat Events Manager Mark Valentine is urging all teams that had booked for 2020 and missed the opportunity to visit the new B.SEC this year to plan ahead and get in early to book for 2021. Mark is distributing a small video to encourage participants back to Ballarat. We will also be asking accommodation providers from this year to share it with those that had booked to help bring them back next year.
Next year will be a special year and still the first opportunity for many visiting teams from across the State and from South Australia to experience the new Ballarat Sports Events Centre.
They will also form part of a special experience as we celebrate 50 years since the first Junior Basketball Tournament was staged in Ballarat.
Mr Valentine noted that “Last year the tournament participants missed using the new BSEC stadium by about 3 weeks, they could only gaze through the window with anticipation. Now the visiting players have to wait another 12 months before stepping onto the spacious courts and experiencing one of the best venues in Australia.”
Valentine added that the Tournaments impact on Ballarat cannot be overestimated.– “This event has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for local businesses in Ballarat and the region every year in mid-winter – a time that is usually slow for the city. This annual boost will be sorely missed.”
“Many Melbourne Associations made the Ballarat Basketball Tournament an annual occasion to bring all their teams away for a long weekend to pit their skills against regional and country teams in fierce but friendly competition. This year will hopefully be a minor hiccup in the wonderful sporting atmosphere that has surrounded this tournament”.
Personally “It will seem strange for me to have a Queen’s Birthday long weekend as a holiday as I have been involved with this event for the past twenty years.”
B.SEC and Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy has assured the City of Ballarat and the local business community that it is doing all within its power to recover some of these lost event opportunities.
“We are working closely with Council and our peak bodies to try ensure that Ballarat remains the destination of choice for any state or national events that were postponed earlier this year and we hope to be able to save some of these events for the city”.
“This of course will be subject to prevailing health guidelines and Government regulations at the time”.
“Whilst our primary goal has been to focus on our grassroots community sports and programs to ensure that our members remain engaged and connected to us we also understand our important role in delivering significant sports events to the region which benefit the broader community”.
“With the $5.2M State Government commitment to the Stage 2 Strength Conditioning and Learning Centre development at B.SEC 2021 promises to be an exciting year ahead all involved”, Eddy added.