Basketball Ballarat continues to deliver big for the city’s accommodation, tourism and retail sector again with year with massive numbers here for the 48th McDonalds Junior Tournament to be held from June 8th to 10th 2019.
Basketball Ballarat in its last year with aging facilities before the new $24M Ballarat Sports Event Centre comes online, has attracted 254 teams and there is a waiting list in some divisions. There are 35 divisions across U/12 to U/18 for both boys and girls.
Despite the spread of single or two court venues that need to be used teams continue to see Ballarat as a great tournament event and tourism destination with most clubs being long term visitors to the event.
This year the tournament is hosting new participant teams from Woodville in South Australia and Foster in South Gippsland as well as many from metropolitan and regional Victoria.
The event will cater for over 3,000 junior players and officials with nearly that number again when you allow for parents and family members. Only 5% of the teams come from the local region.
In all over 5,000 people will be engaged at the Tournament with most having a minimum of two bed nights and three days stays. Many will stay for the three nights.
Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy estimates that the event will deliver an economic benefit to the city of $1.5 Million dollars.
Mr Eddy said it is a credit to Basketball Ballarat’s Events Manager Mark Valentine and his team with the support of Visit Ballarat and Ballarat City Council that we can continue to attract these huge numbers despite our aging facilities and multitude of single court venues that detract from the tournament atmosphere that many of our visitors come for.
Eddy acknowledged that the Association overstretches the staff and volunteer resources that are needed to run such a huge operation for the three days and the spread of 19 courts across 9 venues is nearly beyond Basketball Ballarat’s capacity.
This time next year with six new courts under one roof both the quality of tournament experience for our visitors and the efficiency and ease of operation will be significantly improved. With two extra courts also coming on line at Phoenix College in 2021-22 to deliver a four court venue in Ballarat West this will allow future growth in the event.
Events manager Mark Valentine said he feels a sense of obligation to build on the success of past events for Ballarat. “It’s hard to imagine any other event delivering so many bed nights into the city in the middle of June not only this year but for the past 47 years” Valentine commented.