Ballarat will play a major role in preparing Melbourne United for its first NBL season, with a preseason camp and exhibition game to be held in Ballarat.
The camp, considered a crucial part of Melbourne United’s preseason campaign, will run from August 11 to 15, based at the MARS® MINERDOME. The camp will feature a game against the Adelaide 36ers on Friday, August 15.
Melbourne United (formerly Melbourne Tigers) is working closely with Ballarat Basketball and Ballarat City Council to conduct the camp.
“The preseason camp is crucial for the team and Ballarat is the perfect place to hold it,” Melbourne United CEO Vince Crivelli said.
“Given our club’s vision to embrace and unite all of Victoria, we are very pleased and honoured to form partnerships with Ballarat Basketball and Ballarat City Council as Ballarat acts as a hub for all of Western Victoria.”
The camp is expected to become an annual event with Ballarat as the regional base for the five day training camp, local community and school development programs, and a breakfast with key community members in addition to the NBL match.
Ballarat Basketball CEO Peter Eddy expressed the importance of the event to the city.
“This opportunity is one of the most significant for the sport in Ballarat in a long time. Both the Camp and Pre-season NBL game will showcase national level sport for Ballarat and the whole of Western Victoria,” said Eddy.
“One of our goals in hosting this camp is to demonstrate that we can attract such events to the region and to stage them successfully”.
If the proposed expansion of the Wendouree Sports & Events Centre goes ahead, Ballarat has an opportunity to host in-season NBL matches when Melbourne United’s home court is unavailable each January during the Australian Open.
“Hosting of the camp fits with our new Showcourt vision and supports our need for a Major Indoor Sports Centre development which requires both Council and Government commitment. With a fully compliant centre we can also extend this type of event hosting to national level netball opportunities,” Eddy added.
Mayor of Ballarat Councillor Joshua Morris said Ballarat was looking forward to welcoming Melbourne United to the city.
“Ballarat is building a reputation as the regional home of major sports events, from cycling nationals to the Melbourne United visit.”
“Both the camp and the match against the 36ers will provide a terrific opportunity for fans from Ballarat and the region to experience elite basketball firsthand.”