NATIONAL Basketball League club Melbourne United could soon look elsewhere for a regional base unless Ballarat can produce a modern showcourt.
United has confirmed a third annual community camp and exhibition match against Cairns in Ballarat for early September but the club’s chief executive officer Vince Crivelli has signalled United must have a venue to meet standards of the elite game.
Crivelli and United remain strong supporters of a fully-developed Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, which would feature a 3000-seat showcourt, and in bringing in-season NBL matches to western Victoria. The club also remains committed to a partnership with Ballarat Basketball but needs the right stadium for an alternate base.
BSEC plans are now in limbo until the change of federal government is settled.
“The Minerdome has been a great home to basketball for many years but its aging infrastructure no longer meets the standards required for national level events and competitions,” Crivelli said
“Without the federal funding to complete the proposed BSEC project, it will be hard to continue to bring games to Ballarat.”
The Minerdome has been a great home to basketball for many years but its aging infrastructure no longer meets the standards required for national level events and competitions- Melbourne chief executive officer Vince Crivelli
The $24 million BSEC project is underway for stage one works on a combined $14 million state and local government funding. Basketball Ballarat and City of Ballarat remain seeking $10 million for a full stadium development.
Decisions are pending on an application for a round three grant under National Stronger Regions Fund. Application assessments were complete on time and await approval from a ministerial panel, after new government ministers and departments are briefed with a likely decision by mid-August.
United will suit up for an exhibition game against the Taipans at the Minerdome on September 11.
The team arrives in Ballarat three weeks after the Rio Olympics and is set to sport Olympic debutant Chris Goulding and big-man recruit David Andersen, who will represent the Australian Boomers for a fourth Games.
All players will visit Ballarat schools and community groups in the three-day camp.
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